Yesterday, I promised to outline the five steps that led me to step down from a position of party leader for the Swedish Pirate Party. This is the first in that series, and is about stagnation.
But first: a big thanks, hugs, and raising of the glass to everybody who has written and saluted my work for the past five years. This includes, but is not limited to, Anna Troberg (of course!), TorrentFreak, SlashDot, Digg, Farmor Gun, Christian Engström (thanks!), Dexion, Yamiko, HumbleBee, Ulf Bjereld, Motviktigt, Opassande (hey thanks!), Kulturbloggen, Annarkia, Drottningsylt, iMike, Zac, Hax, Oscar Swartz (wow, hey thanks!), Mia, DeepEd, Anders Lindbäck, 之乎者也, Mary X Jensen, Kent Persson, Törnebohm, Piratpartist, Vidde, and GothBarbie.
The principle is simple: I have fun while I learn new ropes. When I stop learning, I stop having fun. When I stop having fun, I start doing a bad job. And I love the Pirate Party — both the Swedish party and the worldwide movement — way too much to keep a person who’s not at their best as cap’n.
Watching numbers change (budgets, memberships, org charts, even polls) is not learning new things. It’s… just that. Watching numbers change. There’s not much more to actually do. I mean, look at my typical workdays.
Been called by CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, Russia Today, Tv Tokyo for interviews? Check.
Published in pretty much every nation on the planet, in every known alphabet? Yeah, did that.
Offended the American embassy in South African hour-long talk shows? Yeah, that was fun.
Debated infopolicy with the record industry’s chief lobbyist in a formal black tie debate? Remember that one.
Communicated with 50,000 people and watched the onslaught when I asked for a particular action, like calling MP offices? Plenty fun.
On the front page of USA Today? Yeah, did that too. And on the front page of every national newspaper in Sweden from time to time.
Fucked up bigtime? Yeah, sure, plenty times I’ve had to backpedal.
Grasped the moment to cheers and amazements? Hell yes, many times.
Been kicked in the balls by reporters who wanted sensationalist headlines? Betcha.
Led a rooflifting celebration over a fantastic election victory and been in live TV studios on election night? Yup.
Attended a downbeat beer over less fantastic elections? Mhm-hm.
Built a nationwide volunteer organization with delivery capacity on election day and elsetimes? Yeah.
I think you see where I’m getting at here. There’s nothing left for me to learn. Everything ahead would be subtle variations of things I had already done. While one can say that this makes me professionally qualified to continue doing the same things, it also makes me bored doing the same things. When I’m not learning, I’m not living.
It was about a year ago I realized I was slowly beginning to stagnate, and while we’re far from fully there yet, I don’t want to go fully there, either. So it’s time to move on to things I am good at and where I keep learning — meet new people, hold new keynotes and seek new challenges. Such as converting a continent to new ideas. That sounds like enough of a challenge. I’d like to do that.
Back in Sweden, Anna is the perfect fit for the Pirate Party helm at this time, for a thousand and one reasons. I’ll come back to that in post #5 in this series. The above is what she’ll typically be doing on the clock — and she’s already done most of it.
One of the conversations between Anna and me during the holidays went like this:
— Anna, I’m doing an interview in London for the BBC this afternoon, I’m double-booked. Can you take Al-Jazeera?
— Sure, I’m going into town to meet Wall Street Journal, anyway.
I don’t think most people are aware that that’s what our days have looked like.