Actually, I do think you can apply for an EB-1 before acquiring an H-1B. I presume your concern is because of the single intent nature of the F1 visa, if so, there are people who have performed an adjustment of status whilst on OPT. Now, again in the interest of full disclosure, the only reason I applied for an H1B was because I knew that I would be applying for an adjustment of status in a few months and decided to be safer than sorry. However, I came to know later that quite a few people on OPT applied for one and didn't have problems.
> Actually, the difficulty varies from year to year and from company to company and from subfield to subfield. So yes, people do suffer from the status quo.
I am not denying there are exceptions: Some exceptions which seem justified to me include denial based on the fact that the company is a sweat shop which USCIS is cracking down on more (I am not opposed to this.). The other is delays (which can be indefinite) due to security reasons. This is especially guaranteed if you work in robotics, machine learning, biology or are a muslim etc
My point was that in general the system is not completely irrevocably broken down. Yes, it requires cleanup, a refactoring to make it simpler. Personally, I hate hate hate the H1B system and think it is one step above bonded labor, where a unscrupulous employer can fuck with you if he wishes to. Also, there needs to be considerable reform in the way green cards are allotted on an employment basis: I would love for a point based system that integrated all the different paths to permanent residency that we have right now.