Stepdown reason #1: Stagnation


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.



  1. Pia

    What is the point of talking to all those cool international medias when you can’t even explain to the Swedish voters why PP exists? Egoboost?

    1. Bassim

      The 1000 mile journey begins with one step.


  2. Rick Falkvinge

    It’s not like I’m turning down interviews. Doing so would be the ultimate hubris.

    Besides, that they kept coming back and back and back tells me that Anna and I had a story to tell.

    As to “what I can’t even do”, I’m quite content with what I have accomplished so far. Now, on to the next level.

  3. Linda

    Varmt lycka till Rick!!!

    Hoppas få höra dig även fortsättningsvis, tack för allt du uträttat,
    fantastiskt :=)

  4. Botoo

    Tack för allt och lycka till i framtiden!

    Btw, tror du inte att titeln “Slutfest i Almedalen” till bilden i Photo Gallery stapeln kommer att ge lite fel associationer hos engelsktalande besökare? 😉

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Haha. Det bjuder jag på. :) Så långt tänkte jag inte ens…

  5. Varför la du ned din gamla blogg då. Måste man ju köra add bookmark en gång till. Whhhyyyyyy? :).

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Då har jag gjort det så fiffigt att* forwardar till*. Ingen behöver byta någonting utan allt bara funkar presto :)

  6. Jerker Montelius

    Tack för allt Rick!
    Utan dig inget piratparti.

  7. […] mer här: Opassande, DN, DN, Christian Engström, Falkvinge, Troberg, Ulf Bjereld, Drottningsylt, […]

  8. Tråkigt att du lämnar, tråkigt att det gick så dåligt för partiet för frågorna som belystes behövde belysas.
    Men trots allt var utgången given, vilket jag sa för ett bra tag sedan. Anledningen är att huvudbasen är ungdom som när det kom till kritan insåg att integritetsfrågor i all ära, men det räcker inte.

    Gör om partiet till ett rent ungdomsparti med frågor som berör ungdom och partiet får en helt annat stöd.

    1. Ior

      Men… det finns ju redan ett populärt ungdomsparti!

  9. @Rick: Again, thanks for your efforts and initiative to start the Pirate Party 5 years ago.

    The following made me curious:

    “Offended the American embassy in South African hour-long talk shows? Yeah, that was fun.”

    Care to elaborate on that? Is the talk show available somewhere?

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