Update: Jon Hogue thinks 10X is too low.
The top 1% of developers are an order of magnitude more effective than the bottom 1% of developers. That old saw about the top 1% being 10 times as effective as the median programmer is not true, they're merely 3 times as effective.
Merely 3 times as effective.
I firmly believe that the only difference between these exponentials and the rest of our community is the absence of smug self-satisfaction. They fight the Tar Pit of Immediacy not by constantly looking for evidence of how awesome they are, but by finding new and interesting ways in which they suck. By writing code that they hate not 6 or 3 months after it leaves their fingertips but code that they hate immediately.
Go forth and write some code that you hate, today. Write that code and then search for a way to make it better.