Peter Drucker is the most important management consultant of the past 100 years. He coined the term knowledge worker, revealed the inner workings of the most successful American companies including GM and P&G, and developed prescient ideas including “planned abandonment” or self-imposed innovation. Today, this idea is the key to the success of Amazon, Netflix and others who reinvent their core businesses in effort to out-innovate the competition. 

As a result of his many experiences, Drucker had strong views on entrepreneurship as well. Reading about the demise of YC-backed Newstilt reminded me of one of his points: good management is the key to enabling the intrinsic innovation most startups develop to fruition.

“One important advance in the discipline and practice of management is that both now embrace entrepreneurship and innovation. A sham fight these days pits “management” against “entrepreneurship” as adversaries, if not as mutually exclusive. That’s like saying that the fingering hand and the bow hand of the violinist are “adversaries” or “mutually exclusive.” Both are always needed and at the same time. And both have to be coordinated and work together.

Any existing organization, whether a business, a church, a labor union, or a hospital, goes down fast if it does not innovate. Conversely, any new organization, whether a business, a church, a labor union, or a hospital, collapses if it does not manage.

Not to innovate is the single largest reason for the decline of existing organizations. Not to know how to manage is the single largest reason for the failure of new ventures.”

For startups, growing, hiring and developing a team who can manage a company from product development, through product/market fix and into sales/marketing execution is essential.