Of all the places I've lived, San Francisco is the closest to a meritocracy I've seen. At least people here are more open to idea of reward structures based on results rather than proxies. But, even here the mindset exists.
I don't blame the companies or hiring practices as much as I blame bad management. Building a culture of efficiency over emotional commitment is important. People need to be better at setting achievable goals and tracking their progress towards them.
There are companies out there that have seen the light. Pivotal Labs has a great culture based on a simple idea - be highly efficient and engaged from 9am to 5pm. Then, go out in the world and live your life.
2) On the flip-side, it's interesting to consider if 4 part-timers are more valuable than 2 full-timers. You get twice the brain cells and you'd get more "work-time spillover" (people working/thinking their off-hours). This might be especially true in a smaller company where you often can't afford to hire enough full-timers to get a lot of diverse thinking. I can't tell you how many startups I meet could benefit from a second designer but aren't even close to being able to afford one. Of course, higher headcount means higher communication overhead, too.
Physical face-time with your team is also very important, and there is some cognitive load on the rest of the team when you have to remember which days someone is supposed to come in, etc.
I'm not a fan of part-time, but obviously there are certain roles/companies in which it turns out to be an ideal situation. Of course, I know amazing designer who really does make this work well for herself and her company; however, I worry that she's the rare exception ;)!
That doesn't mean you push people 60 hours or weekends, but you enforce minimums like 9-5 and you make sure everyone feel's everyone is equally contributing and that everyone is trying hard.
However all of them will notice if someone arrives late and you don't do anything about it. We had one specific case were someone constantly arrived 2-3 hours late. People very "subtly" started complaining (and I mean very subtly). No one ever mentioned or talked about what the person was working on or if he was producing great code (his code was very good btw). Neither did they asked why he was arriving late - they only assumed it was not OK and felt it was unfair.
Why does the 10x stick around when the 10x study was done against debugging? And who has actually worked with someone capable of producing 100x more than everyone else while writing good, clean, maintainable code?
The former was an engineer.
Obviously this is really hard to measure. In my experience, it is true, but that is a qualitative assessment.
Like a "ten-year overnight success", 10x requires a lot of skill and investment to get there, and the vast majority of people do not (and can not) get there on a 4-hour work week. It might be that only ~4 hours are critical to learning, but there's a whole search process involved in finding what is worth learning and how to learn it. You have to work a lot harder to get to the point where you're a legit 10xer. This is the proverbial "10,000 hours"-- there's a lot of variation by individuals and projects, but no doubt in my mind that that's the right order of magnitude.
Full-time employment is becoming a dinosaur, over time, and even more clunky is the expectation of full loyalty (no side projects, no competing interests, minimal support for education) that employers tend to expect. So I'm not taking the other side, so much as I think it's unreasonable to make the argument that 10x can be divorced from the very hard work it takes to get (and stay) there.
I would argue in favor of compensating 10xers better (5x instead of 1.2x) or giving them a lot more autonomy (so they can continue investing in their skills, but aren't expected to invest more than 4 hours into assigned work) but at that point, you're talking about sociological issues-- why aren't the best people rewarded or even recognized?-- and that's a different can of mud.
Really relevant here. I think most engineers, not just top performers, are dramatically underpaid.