I began watching Gilbert Strang's lectures on Linear Algebra and soon realized that I lacked an intuitive understanding of matrices, especially as to why certain operations (e.g. matrix multiplication) are defined the way they are. Someone suggested to me 3Blue1Brown's video series (https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZHQObOWTQDPD3MizzM2xVFitgF8hE_ab) and it has helped immensely. However, it seems to me that they present matrices in completely different ways: 3Blue1Brown explains that they represent linear transformations, while Strang depicts matrices as systems of linear equations. What's the connection between these two different ideas?
Furthermore, I understand why operations on matrices are defined the way they are when we think of them as linear maps, but this intuition breaks when matrices are thought of in different ways. Since matrices are used to represent all sorts of things (linear transformations, systems of equations, data, etc.), how come operations that are seemingly defined for use with linear maps the same across all these different contexts?