We’ve all been there, looking at the lush green grass that is the decentralized economy and thought about carving up a piece for ourselves. We have talked to the first three results thrown up by googling ICO Consultants and scoured our LinkedIn connections to find the best one for our business.\n\n> The Lord knows how much we’ve negotiated with these Blockchain experts demanding top dollar in an economy where everything is crashing down.\n\nI wanted to share our learnings with the newcomers to the fold in a bid to end the debate on the question of scam ICOs. Sure, there will be few rotten apples in the orchard but sometimes, it is the bad fertilizers and poor farming techniques that lead to crop failure.\n\n> We spoke to several ICO Founders and came to realize that a lot of the problems with the blockchain world stems from a bad advisory.\n\nTo further [our mission](http://tokenasia.com) of helping out our fellow ICO Founders and visionaries, we have compiled a list of seven signs that, if true, demand the immediate dismissal of your ICO experts because you’ll be better off without them than with them.\n\n**Sign I — Your Blockchain Consultant says YES to every idea you share with them.**\n\n!(https://hackernoon.com/hn-images/0*pL0z0_ZirYEfpQLz.jpg)\n\nSource: Brian Graf\n\nIt could be something as small as a new community engagement strategy to something as crucial as your business model. If your ICO expert is just nodding his/her head in agreement interspersed with spoonful servings of “sounds like a good plan”, take them straight to the chopping block else they’ll take you to the cleaners.\n\n> _Think of it this way. If all your ideas are so “disruptive” and “revolutionary” from the word go, do you really need an expert to nod his/her head in approval?_\n\nCut the cord and find a consultant that challenges your model first instead of asking about your “marketing budgets”\n\n**Sign II — Your Blockchain Consultant uses the words token, coin, and ERC20 interchangeably**\n\n!(https://hackernoon.com/hn-images/0*pg8odxUf86_dQP6v.jpg)\n\nSource: Global Women Connected\n\nSince the blockchain space is so nascent and constantly evolving, a lot of us real experts have a deep-seated mild-to-moderate Asperger's syndrome that forces us to correct anyone who uses these three words interchangeably. Your use of these three interchangeably is fine. That’s why you’re seeking experts.\n\n> Your expert, however, by committing this cardinal sin, is simply outing himself/herself as a snake oil salesman which we thought that we’d left back in the 1960s.\n\nThey’ve collected a lot of street cred by visiting all the major Blockchain conferences in their slick suits, greased hair, and posting selfies on LinkedIn (the horror) but when it comes to walking the walk, “the market’s really volatile right now, man. Let’s go visit that conference in Malta/Dubai/Singapore and I’ll introduce you to some of my investor friends.”\n\n> Why we can’t talk over the phone or video conference first is a question that gets them fumbling like headless chickens on a noisy highway.\n\n**Sign III — They send you detailed marketing strategies 3–5 months in advance**\n\n!(https://hackernoon.com/hn-images/0*5qpVYkM2RQqgCjw5.jpg)\n\nSource: Alamy\n\nSince a lot of these experts came from the Marketing and Sales divisions, they’ve got the chops to make beautiful presentations that will blow your mind away. There’s just one itty-bitty problem. Between the time it takes them to copy-paste their “customized strategies” and get you to read it, these strategies have already become outdated because someone on Reddit destroyed that strategy.\n\nMake this a rule of thumb:\n\n> If your consultant has less than 50 karma on Reddit, just skip them.\n\nYou can thank me later by coming back to this article and murdering the clap button.\n\n**Sign IV — They haven’t read your whitepaper**\n\n!(https://hackernoon.com/hn-images/0*_RlOyeoPdapyqMY8.jpg)\n\nSource: Alamy\n\nThankfully, the current crop of real experts is still very geeky. If your consultant doesn’t come back to you with a copy of your white paper colored in red ink (yes RED. Any other color is still a disqualifier) annotations, you’ve got yourself a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Chuck them out, unless, you’re a shady consultant yourself. In that case, connive with them instead of competing. There’s a lot of money to be made by everybody. If no, do a simple 5-minute test and quiz them on your technical architecture.\n\n> The real ones will always be up for the challenge. Wake them up at 3 am and they’ll be ready to go. We’re that competitive.\n\nEverybody else will bill you by the hour because they’ve “got other clients too.”\n\n**Sign V — They’ve never written for any of the big crypto-publications**\n\n!(https://hackernoon.com/hn-images/0*1ROYMe_P4NTpOADC.jpg)\n\nThis is a tough one. I’ll concede, not all experts are writers, but hey, the blockchain space is so small that not having a medium account with at least 50 genuine followers is a red flag. The [first blog that I wrote on tokenomics](https://medium.com/coinmonks/what-is-tokenomics-and-how-it-can-make-or-break-your-ico-52484c861663) shows up at the top for a simple Google search for tokenomics. The bar is not that high, to begin with.\n\n> If your consultant’s street cred comes from wining and dining with the other wheeler-dealers, lose the heft and hire one who’s left.\n\n**Sign VI — They’re very good at negotiating with you**\n\n!(https://hackernoon.com/hn-images/0*iUzEL7P40aD3O_AE.jpg)\n\nSource: Alyssa Godwin\n\n> …but very bad at negotiating for you.\n\nComing from Sales and a lifetime of saying YES, these crafty marketers have mastered the art of finding, negotiating, and closing deals. If you find yourself reaching for your wallet before the third “date”, you’re just going to end up as an entry in their little black book.\n\nI personally know a consultant who was very good at closing clients but very bad at helping them raise money. He was mouthing about some ICO at a conference when a potential investor asked him about the technical architecture (investor was a multimillionaire technologist) and this priceless sentence was sputtered out by the consultant — “Actually, I haven’t read the whitepaper.”\n\n> Such utterances have potentially lost millions for several ICOs. This is why it is a priceless sentence.\n\n**Sign VII — They have 10,000+ connections on LinkedIn but hardly post anything insightful**\n\n!(https://hackernoon.com/hn-images/0*6oWFtzKjrs-UUoZt.jpg)\n\nSource: Social Samosa\n\nLet’s understand this with a case study of a genuine expert, [Michael Creadon](https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-creadon-31404a30/). He posts his insights and musings almost daily on LinkedIn. You could check out any of his posts and see that this guy knows what he is talking about. Even then, you’ll see that he peppers his posts with disclaimers of Do Your Own Research and accepting that he could have it wrong. When was the last time your consultant posted something like that on LinkedIn?\n\nChances are, never, and that’s why you need to fire your Blockchain Consultant. What you’ve got is what we call an interloper. They’re infesting the blockchain space as we speak.\n\n### Conclusion\n\nIf you’re thinking that your Blockchain Expert got red-flagged by each of the above seven points, don’t worry, you’re not alone.\n\n### The 92% failure rate of ICOs is a result of this combination of bad consulting and bad management. Hopefully, your eyes have been opened and you’ll either make amends or do better next time.\n\n> We live. We learn.\n\nHere’s to wishing that the crypto sentiment turns back positive in 2019 because the Lord knows that it’s a bloodbath out there. It’s on you ICO Founders, CEOs, and CTOs to get better consultants and by extension, get better products in the market that make more sense to the public and get them back is investors, or as your (hopefully an ex after this) consultants say, contributors.\n\nIf you like this article, give it a few claps, add me on [LinkedIn](https://www.linkedin.com/in/utsavjaiswal/), follow me on [Twitter](https://twitter.com/StartUp_Vulture), or [sign up for my newsletter](https://share.hsforms.com/1mbnmjGIeQm-cdG4KmltXmQ31g1s).