SPO Tales, #2 featuring STAYK Pool

by @Jane14457995 released on twitter. an initiative similar to what we do with our #SPOt-lights but this time we were on the oter side of the interview table!

The full interview is placed here for readablity purposes The link tot he post is here and below the interview is our tweet citation.

When was STAYK formed?

STAYK’s certificate was registered on February 27th 2021, in Epoch 250. We started with 20.700 live stake, which was mainly our private stacks.

Why did you start your stakepool?

I was already delegating and loved the idea of contributing and I had an extra PC that (at the time) met the hardware requirements to run a pool. It started out as an experiment of enthusiasm. This is when I told Roman about it and we decided to take a more solid approach.

How long did it take before you were able to mint your first block?

As we got live in Epoch 250 we didn’t produce a block until Epoch 275. So we scoured the Cardano Forums and found a post by Stefano, of the STPZ1 Pool, making an effort to pool some resources so we can alternately and temporarily bump stake so we could produce our first blocks.

How many are on your team?

We started out as two. Roman, a friend of mine, and myself (Bas). I told him about Cardano and its plans during an evening run. He soon offered to help me on the technical side and that was perfect. Later on, when we realised the troubleshooting, monitoring and maintenance became a bit more resource intense so we teamed up with Ties, a Linux security expert and he offered to host the Pool on machines that he owned. This really make STAYK a pretty much infinitely sustainable endeavor for us.

In what country are you ‘located’?

Holland, but spread around the country when it comes to the different servers we run. Me and Roman live in Den Haag, and Ties is located in the north, where most of the beefy hardware resides too.

Do you or would you want to also run pools as a service for others?

In short: No. But we spun up the idea of ‘Threelay’ as most small pools had no real resources to have a Block Producing Node and Three Relays up all the time. We would make clusters of relays that people could rent and add to their setups. But after troubleshooting the idea and running it past some wise people in the Cardano Stake Pool Best Practice Workgroup, we soon realized it would introduce single points of failure for multiple pools at the same time, and would become redundant as soon as P2P would be live.

What type of equipment do you operate?

All of it is listed on https://staykpool.com/architecture/

What do you enjoy most about being an SPO?

Being able to be a point of information to others joining the space. The vast array of questions you get and misinformation you have to dispel so people begin this journey safely and in control is mind boggling. I get a kick out of helping people in the right direction.

Are you part of any stakepool alliances?

As described earlier I was one of the early people to join and help shape F2LB (First 2 Lifetime Blocks) https://f2lb.info/

What was the best thing to happen to your stake pool since it started?

Most likely Roman and Ties joining me to combine responsibilities and strengths. Then having the pleasure to meet great people and projects. It really shows how genuine connections outweigh many other rational things and its a pleasure to be part of this.

What is the most difficult part of running a stake pool?

I’d have to say marketing. Being ‘late to the party’ means most staked ADA has found a spot, so getting people off the exchanges is a huge part of the mission. Many tech oriented folks have a hard time reaching out to people with comprehensive stories, so that challenge is real.

What marketing have you found most effective as an SPO?

Having a reason for people to visit your site, like a YouTube channel, write interviews or build an App help. There has to be some form of added value besides just running a pool. People need to know they can hit you up with questions, ask for feedback or even discuss other projects in the space that they feel are interesting. You essentially build a community around your pool and hope delegators help bring in more people that enter crypto. Build critical mass.

If you are mission-driven, to what causes do you contribute?

Our primary mission (if I may call it that) is to stress the importance of the ecosystem being decentralized and resilient. Bringing out content to help clarify, debate and sometimes mock and joke about it is what we do. Secondly we help bring other pools and projects to light that have interesting missions, views or purposes and give them a SPOt-light to present themselves

Do you have any other jobs beside being a SPO, and if so what?

Im a Physical Therapist by day, Roman is a Software Engineer and Ties is Linux Security Consultant. All the things we do for the pool are considered hobby and passion/education.

Have you worked on any Cardano dApps or projects besides your stake pool? If so, what? (In your case, you have a wonderful interview website I’m aware of, shining a light on Cardano community members and SPOS. But not sure about anything else.)

We made coins.staykpool.com as a starter to track progress on our loyalty program called Stayk Coins ($STAYK.) This gives a portion of the pools mandatory Fixed Fee of 340 ADA back to people that stayed with us since the early days. That and the interviews.

What if any support could IOG provide to SPOs to make the experience smoother or better?

The fixed fee of 340 ADA really takes a huge chunk of the rewards for smaller pools, hence our effort to credit part of that back to the delegators. Other then that I’m not sure if its IOG’s job to make it easier. There has to be some competitive edge here and there to prevent an infinite number of pools form forming. But theres some Great CIP’s that try and address these imbalances and being transparent about the developments would be greatly appreciated

What do you see as the biggest challenges for SPOs on Cardano within the next year?

We as operators and owners need to show we are here for the right reasons. Not any single person ‘deserves a spot’ just because they followed a Coincashew guide. Being in line with the direction Cardano is headed is paramount. Being able to critically evaluate all the different roles in the ecosystem like DEX’s CEX’s and other projects and see if they act in the best interest, if not, we must not be afraid to speak out, be critical and make necessary trimmings here and there.

What event(s) caused the most change to your stake and in what way?

That personal connection I talked about earlier can lead to amazing things, several of the larger delegations come from NFT projects that hopped on board and allowed us to help promote and evolve the artwork by giving feedback, discussing and sampling parts of their plans. @EntheosAi and @DexoWorlds come to mind. They both have a wallet delegated that keep us somewhat stable. Hooking up other people and projects together is a great feeling, and seeing @Cryptofly777 accelerate the drops of NFTs and manage the Discord is an absolute joy to witness and be a part of.

Anything else you’d like to mention?

There are some people that deserve an honorable mention as they have played a significant role in honing our spot and providing valuable feedback. @bigezdaddy2017 for doing my first external interview, @nierop_pieter for being a dutchie that has full faith in Cardano and puts his money where his mouth is. Will from @EntheosAi generative Art NFT’s for being a loyal badass and great guy to be associating with. Same goes for Jared and his crew @DexoWorlds. Linda from MALU Pool and Pete Bui from ADAOZ and his Learn Cardano Podcast that have been very supportive and throw us shout outs and credits where they feel they’re due. The people from F2LB like Stefano @STackingPiZza for starting F2LB and Simon from QCPOL and TAPC. Way too many to all recall but you know who you are.

Thanks so much for having us on Jane!

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