I think the point is, that it will be hard once the whales that decide to pledge their ADA to pools have finished saturating pools (e.g. IOHK said they will probably have about 80 pools) for small operators to differentiate themselves to attract people to delegate to them based on the remaining number of possible pools (i.e. 1000 - number of whale operated pools).
If for example we say that whale pools saturate half of the total number (e.g. 500/1000), if there are more than 500 small operators, not everyone will be able to operate a viable pool. Sure there will be some jostling for a while (in our example maybe 750 operators may try to fill the remaining 500), but eventually some will drop out until an equilibrium is established. Over time you may find that k is usually plus or minus 5% and never exact, as pools come and go. At the end of the day it is a protocol designed to to be secured based on those with wealth being interested in protecting it. I am not sure how any PoS system can be secured without this as an underlying condition. It is also why I posed the question about what would attract people to delegate in this thread Do you plan to run a stake pool in 2019? [Anonymous Survey].
I think that for those who have been following the Cardano project and are passionate about supporting it due to how it differentiates itself from other blockchain projects, it is exciting to think that it is getting to a point where they can start to participate in a way other than just holding ADA.
I also think that when there is talk about how a stake pool can be run on something as cheap as a Rock Pi it gives people the impression that it is within reach of anyone. While that is technically true, it isn’t a practical reality, because while some of the technical limitations may be removed (i.e. you don’t need expensive hardware like ASIC miners), the protocol design makes it more difficult for some than others.
I think this comes back to some of the messaging that comes from the project teams and maybe assumptions being made about the level of knowledge that the audience has. There have been people in the “Cardano Stake Pool Best Practices Workgroup” Telegram channel that have been asking how they can participate as a pool operator, after saying they have no experience in implementing and operating IT systems and applications. Sure we could provide documentation to follow the bouncing ball and get a stake pool running, but as I said in my previous post
what would those people do if something went wrong with their node and didn’t know how to diagnose the problem? I appreciate that the protocol is designed to allow for node failures, but ultimately we need the majority of the network to be operated professionally.
Why use science and formal methods to build a professional product if it isn’t going to be operated professionally. It would be like Boeing using science and formal methods to build their planes and then letting learner pilots fly them.