Stepdown reason #2: Organization in place

This is post #2 in my series with reasons to step down: I have set up what I wanted to set up.

Pioneering a new political movement and organizing individualists is something of a challenge. In the first year, people more or less organized locally the way they wanted, in lack of better connections. It took five years to connect all the organization’s dots together and get everybody working in a coherent fashion.

That’s one of the challenges when you’re growing in bursts — when you triple your crew over a week without much warning. An organization that grows by more than 10% a year needs to actively devote resources to maintaining its culture. There just aren’t any books on how you manage a 200-percent growth in one week. The new two-thirds of the organization took a good deal of time to absorb, and that goes for both times this has happened. (We call it verticalities: when the membership graph pulls the stick backward and goes vertical.)

It’s also been a lot of a challenge to combine traditional NGO culture with the necessary pioneer/entrepreneurship culture and meritocracy. (There are still some people who haven’t seen the last part, which I’ll return to in post #3, Blue Fire.)

But at long last, we have a basic scaffolding of a structure from the local level all the way up to the board, with — and this is important — an unbroken chain of responsibility and crystal clear authorizations at every level, combined with a strong safeguarding of the party’s name as such in a monolithic organization.

We have the operational hierarchy which manages budget and other resources, we have the basic meritocracy where you get attention based on performance, and we have the empowering foundation where you need not and may not ask permission to take an initiative.

Sure, there are places that are lacking in function. The party’s board right now is the weakest link in all of this, for instance. Which is kind of sad, since it’s the most important body in the entire party. The board is intended to be a body of veterans who have served for a couple years as or near the party leader and who know what the operational demands are. But in a young organization such as this, there just aren’t enough people who have rotated out of operational management yet.

But overall, there’s nothing more for me to do in setting up the foundations for success.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Jonahtan

    Are the reasons for you stepping down really what they appear to be? Or is there something else behind? Will someone else keep pointing the finger at our government or will that issue die as you step down? I hope I’m wrong but I’m sencing a smoke screen.

    Anyway, thank you Rick for starting PP five years ago and good luck with your new position!

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