What surprised you about me?

If you are reading this, it is because you are one of the people I sent them the following message on Friday

Personal survey since we know each other for some time (I need your answer as it will help me with something): Very honestly, what’s the one thing you didn’t expect about me (something that surprised you)?

Actually what I was doing is applying for a mentorship program at work, where if I am accepted I will be mentoring other employees who want to get into product management, or are already into product management and need advice.

In the application there was a mandatory field that said “One thing you wouldn’t expect about me is …”. I gave it some thought and it intrigued me to ask you, since one’s perception of self is different from others’ perception of them.

Since some of you were interested in the answers I got, I am copy pasting the responses I got from you and others on the above mentioned question. I will add my comments next to some of the answers as well. I only removed responses that might identify the responder and those that are specific to a personal situation between both of us. I also didn’t include responses of people that said nothing surprised them.

Let’s get started…

“Something I am always surprised about you since the day we met. Is I never felt you were missing something because you use a wheelchair.
In terms of personality, achievements and attitude towards life. And I respect that a lot in you”

“[Personal Joke] … fun aside … your age i thought considering our conversations and all we were at least the same age … I don’t think you are predictable, but consistent … i think 🤔 People who may have stereotypes about how one should be considering background would find you and for the same reasons probably me contradicting and somethings may come as a surprise… but once you are used to a type of thinking it all actually makes sense … don’t know if this helps … ha ha !” // This is one of the points I don’t easily feel comfortable sharing with others. For example I am not pro disability rights activism. I think it doesn’t solve the problems people are facing. I am a believer in being powerful and influencer so that you can change the things you don’t like. Probably this is because of Egypt and the attitude it put in me that I have to solve my own problems. Sometimes when I discuss these topics it makes me sound non-human, insensitive. I don’t mean to sound like this I just take life one challenge at a time.

“Honestly the one thing that I never expected you to do enak tsafer bara masr … That I never expected”

“Honestly, I didn’t think that u will stay in 🇩🇪 for this long, away from ur family”

“you left the country
kont mtwk3 enk momken t23od w t3ml 7aga”

“That you left the ecosystem and entrepreneurship early. I was expecting you to try more. [removed the last part as it mentions others]” // This and the previous three comments are one of the biggest things people don’t realize about me. Once I throw something behind my back I don’t miss it. This applies to objects, people, places…etc. I am never nostalgic. I tried to think a lot about this, I think it is a coping mechanism caused by my medical case. I had tens of fractures and used to feel enormous bone pain. Egypt was a pain. If I wasn’t this forgetful, those pains would’ve haunted me forever. 

About whatever you are doing
Bs r3’m dah btzh2 bso3a f mtl7a2sh t7osd el zar3to
W bardo mbyfr2sh m3ak
Bs keda I hope it’s helped
Lw ana fehmt el So2al sa7 😅”

“mmm, may be: sometimes, how careless/don’t-give-a-fu.. you are” // This and the previous comment are also true. The problem is when I tell people I don’t care, they think I am faking it and I actually care. 99% of the times I mean it. I rarely think of sunk cost. If I don’t like a movie, I just go out. If I don’t like Facebook even though I have thousands of people on it, I delete it. If I don’t like a job, I change it. I also rarely think of things I can’t control, and this is always my advice to others. I am a big believer that today is a gift, be grateful for it, and if it doesn’t work, there is tomorrow. And at the end, almost, nothing matters.

“I don’t have anything to say in this regard, may be a bit too much realism but that’s it.” // This is because I don’t care if humanity persists forever. It is ok if we all die at once as long as it happens in a painless way. We all gonna die so optimizing for continuity doesn’t appeal to me.

“When I first met you and you were doing something irrelevant to what you wanted to do at Microsoft after a few entrepreneurial attempts that didn’t go viral, I did not expect that, a few years later, you would be where you currently are. I kind of felt bad about it at that time because i thought that you could end up as a wasted talent. I loved your persistence and you challenging your limits by finding a job and working abroad alone. This is not only surprising but it is also really inspiring. [I removed the last part as it is very personal]”

“You are the only one who moved to Europe in a position rather than a developer . On other side , you are have an organized mind more than i expected”

“You became a PM for an infrastructure product.
I think this is something I didn’t see coming as you are always talking business!”

“Ank kont bta5d summer course 😂” // That’s true, I used to fail courses and wasn’t an academic success.

“Loool enak 5albos 😂” // This comes from a dear friend who I always tell who is going to do what. I am rarely wrong with my predictions of others. Sitting on a wheelchair makes you a good observer. You have long hours to observe and predict.

“mmm one of things I can think of now is that you don’t like conflicts
I can not describe it, but for first impression I thought you’re confronting type, but then it appeared it’s not that much” // That’s very true. Probably this perception comes from my confidence when I speak and my storytelling style. It probably makes people think I am of the confronting type, but I am actually far from it. I don’t confront people I can’t win. Something I am trying to work on as sometimes you have to fight. Enough flight.

“You are wiser than I usually expect. But it kills any potential for risk” // Thank you!

“You are the most patient person I have ever met”

“Recently? Being a bit moody which is something that I can’t judge because I don’t know the dynamics behind it, but I still can observe and communicate it.” // My biggest mood swinger is loneliness. When I feel lonely, I am sad, otherwise, I am a happy soul.

“That you are a very fast reader.” // I am actually not fast. Well, if I am reading out loud I am relatively fast and accurate, but in general my silent reading pace is below average. What I am good at is skimming quickly and getting the context. Over time you recognize patterns and this becomes easier.

“You said honestly 😅 when we first meet and you told me that your birth year is 1991 i excepted that you are little bit older than me 😆” //You are not the first, I unfortunately recently lied to few people about my real age. This is because when you work with people that are much older than you, they might be disrespectful if they know this fact. I already had this before so I learned my lesson the hard way.

“Super energetic and “faray7i”” // haha thanks! The best description I heard from a friend he once told me “You are the powerbank of the group!”

“That u don’t get in touch in a lot” // That’s true. I don’t have a specific reason for this, probably because of my big network. Normally I consider no news is good news, with the exception of my family and few people outside of it. Also not having FB adds to this.


This was my answer on the mentorship program form: “When it comes to product management, for me nothing is off the table. I am a big advocate of move fast and break things, I am pro growth at all costs, and many practices that are being attacked about our industry I don’t oppose them.”. // This is surprising because in Europe many members of the tech industry consider themselves moral guardians of the users. I don’t accept this as I consider it patronizing and treats users as if they have no free will.