If you are a foreigner looking for a long term (1 Month+) place to stay in Berlin, Wunderflats.com could be a good option to find a house.

It is like Airbnb but for long term rentals. I used it to find the place I am currently staying in.

Units on the website could be a bit pricey compared to what’s on the market. But you don’t need Schufa (Credit score report), or crazy 3 months deposits that you will get back 3 months after leaving the place.

At least this was my experience. Give it a try if you are coming to Berlin and looking for a place to stay.

Sneaky UX – Deliveroo

I decided from now on to call dark patterns sneaky UX. I feel dark patterns is so evil, while most of the times it is not that dark.

Today’s sneaky UX comes from Deliveroo. A food delivery service in Europe.

If you start adding things to the basket, it will tell you the minimum is X for this restaurant.



If you click check out without meeting the minimum order price, you will get this.



I find it sneaky because it doesn’t tell me I could do this. I am sure many users who don’t meet the minimum order price either quit or keep adding things to their basket to reach the minimum.

This could be clearer.

Every Loser

I watched the movie “the big short” more than 10 times. It is a great story of how few people challenged everyone, and turned to be right.

One of the scenes I like is when this company led by Mike Baum (Played by Steve Carrel) meets a guy from Deutsche Bank who purposes the idea of shorting mortgage backed securities.

Shorting in this case simply means going to a bank and telling them I am gonna pay you X yearly. In the case of the unlikely event that this mortgage bond fails (people couldn’t pay their loans), the bank would pay you 10X or even 100X.

Mike Baum couldn’t believe what the Deutsche guy said that people won’t be able to pay their mortgage. He is a skeptical man. So he decided to go and find out.

The line that stood with me is this one where he is urging his team to move fast because..

“Every Loser With A Couple Million Bucks In A Fund Is Gonna Be Jumping On Us.”

I recently resonate frequently with this line. I think this is also becoming true in tech. Every loser with a computer and internet connection can launch a website/app and call themselves a founder. Only few people will have the courage, commitment, patience, and dedication to build a great company.

Deliveroo Surge Pricing

I am hungry on a Saturday night. I opened Deliveroo to order dinner, selected the restaurant, opened the page, and got this.

Sorry, we are unable to process your order right now.

There was another message in German. I google translated it.

Due to high demand in your area, we can not accept any new orders more apologize.

Supply is the fuel of marketplaces. In low supply, Uber tries to motivate more drivers by increasing prices. I don’t know what Deliveroo does regarding this.

The second problem with Deliveroo, there is no way to know when this would end. Uber allows you to see the cars on the street and by tracking the surge factor you can somehow predict when cars would be available or surge ends. Also Uber has the option to notify you when cars become available or surge ends.

Seems there won’t be dinner for me tonight.

The global tenant score

The home rental market is huge. In some cities it is very competitive to rent an apartment.

One of the biggest issues for landlords is how they would trust you with their property. Here in Germany they use credit score and your salary as proxies for how good you are. This is not fair.

There is an opportunity for a company to become the global tenant score provider. A company you pay money for to go talk to your current/previous landlord(s) and get feedback on you. Then you can use this score to apply for apartments.

I think this is more fair than judging you based on your current salary.

The question bothering me about autonomous cars

I don’t drive. I can’t drive. Everytime I am in a car there has to be someone driving it.

With the current race towards a fully autonomous world, the question that keeps popping to my mind is: Who will put the wheelchair?

Maybe we need autonomous trunks with robotic arms that can come out, fold the chair, and put it inside.


We hear the term “Wannapreneurs” frequently. It describes a breed of startup founders who can be characterized doing everything but building something people want.

We rarely hear of “Wannavestors” (I just made up the word). This is a breed of investors who can be characterized by doing everything but investing.

As much as you should be wary of wannapreneurs, beware of wannavestors.

Dark Patterns

Dark Patterns are User Interfaces that are designed to trick people.

There are many of those in apps we use everyday. There is no definite answer to what is considered a dark pattern.

A lot of times people argue whether something is a dark pattern. This discussion gets heated when the numbers prove to be positive for the business. Or the other way around.

I recently came through a few examples that I consider to be dark patterns that I am sharing in this post.



If you try to login with Google on Airbnb android app, it will ask you for permission to access your contacts. I think they use this later to know who on your network is using Airbnb, or to prompt you later to invite them to use the service.

The work around this was to do a forgot password, use my gmail account, create a password for the account, and login with my username and password. This way it won’t ask for access to my contacts.


Facebook in my opinion is the master of forcing users to do what Facebook wants. The following screenshot I took when I was using mobile web last year before deleting my account.


It was trying to mislead me into thinking that my friends are sending invitations to download the messenger app, while in fact if you just skip the message you will find your messages and you can use them just as if you have the app. I am sure this was very successful.


This one I stumbled upon recently while booking an Easyjet flight. After selecting the two flights, you are taken to a page where the first thing you see after seat selection is this part.


This made me think the flight doesn’t allow me any bags and I have to purchase the hold bags. Notice the name “Hold Bags”. It made me think hold bags includes/means carry on.

If you scroll to the very bottom, you will find that you can bring a carry on, but they name it Cabin baggage.


If you don’t scroll, you won’t see that you can bring a “Cabin baggage”, and you will think you have to purchase a “Hold Bag”. I wonder how much baggage sales increased after this implementation.


What dark patterns you saw recently? 


Anchor App

I am trying to settle in Berlin. So my blogging frequency has gone down. I have lots to talk about and share. Hopefully I find an apartment soon, settle, and get back to life.

I recently heard about Anchor App from GaryVee. He described it as “the twitter of voice”.

The app idea is simple. You create an account, follow people, get followed, and create waves.

A wave is a shorter than 1:59 minutes audio.

You say what you want in less than this duration and your followers can listen to, reply with other waves, and echo (retweet/repost) your waves.

I like the idea and the execution. It is simple and using voice only lowers the pressure that video puts on one to be in good look and share thoughts with other format than text.

Here are my first two anchors:

The app is available for iOS and Android. Download it and follow me at Mostafa Nageeb (There are no usernames yet!)

Understanding the Dutch 30% Rule

Disclaimer: This is not legal nor financial advice. Consult your lawyer.

Foreigners working in the Netherlands benefit from a tax exemption on 30% of their salary. There are certain conditions to be eligible for this. You can find them online.

One of the most confusing elements of the rule is how to calculate the net salary. This is what I am trying to explain in this post.

What the 30% rule means?

It means if your annual salary is EUR 100,000. 30% of it which is equal to 30,000 won’t be taxable. You will just get it as is.

The remaining 70,000 will be treated as if this is your base salary. You will pay taxes accordingly.

The minimum salary requirement

To be eligible for the 30% rule you have to meet this condition

The annual taxable salary for an employee must be more than EUR 36,889.

Remember: TAXABLE SALARY. This is the remaining of your salary after you cut 30% of it. It has to match or be higher than the that number.

Things get interesting

Salaries in the Netherlands aren’t that high. So recruiters will tell you that because you are a foreigner you will benefit from the 30% rule. While this is technically true, most of the times you won’t be benefiting completely from it.

Suppose you got an offer from a company for EUR 45,000. You got the government approval for the 30% rule.

  • 30% * 45,000 = 13,500. The tax free part which you will get as is.
  • 70% * 45,000 = 31,500. The taxable salary. This is smaller than the above mentioned minimum.

The Workaround

Here is what accountants and companies do. If your taxable salary won’t match the minimum salary requirement. They will take part of the non-taxable salary and add it to the taxable one until it meets the minimum. Here is how it works for the above example.

Remember: The minimum for 2016 is 36,889.

  • Taxable: 36,889.
  • Non-taxable: 45,000 – 36,889 = 8,111 EUR. This is the amount you will get as is.

Final Remarks

In the above mentioned example, you are only getting 18% of your salary exempted from taxes. Not 30%.

If you want to benefit completely from the 30% rule. Your gross salary has to be greater than

  • (The Minimum Taxable Salary of the year) * 10 / 7.
  • 36,889 * 10 / 7 = 52698.60 EUR. For 2016.


I hope this helps. If you have any questions let me know in the comments.

Thanks to Booking.com finance guy who spent almost half an hour explaining this to me & answering my stupid questions. And thanks for Abdelhameed Torky who encouraged me to write this.