Sina Haghiri

Sina’s one of our highly trusted members of the Sense Network in Berlin. Having worked with us on many a project, he’s our eyes and ears on the ground reporting back on the latest trends, keeping us updated on what’s new. Here he tells us a bit about the city, it’s abundance of space and the growth of the start-up scene.

Hi Sina, over to you, tell us a bit about yourself...

Hi! I’m Sina, a Senser in Berlin, the ever changing capital of Germany.

What do you do and what excites you about it?

There is always more than one answer to the question of my occupation, I like to be involved in different projects of all kinds. At the moment there are 4 main things I work on:

1. I am introducing the concept of Human Resources to Blinkist, a start-up company based in Berlin. They have successfully emerged from the “Hey I’ve got a cool Idea let’s try it out” - phase and are transforming into a proper business, with a substantial amount of employees. I - as their first employee in this field - am helping them professionalize their structure.

2. I am still involved in psychological research with my former University, working on publishing articles with my colleagues there.

3. I built a personal website where I give online tuition ( for those preparing for entrance examinations.

4. Even though I tuned it down a bit, I still organise some events and work as a DJ here and there.

Are you working on any personal projects?

(Previously explained in point 3 above)…that’s my personal project, I started it on a really small scale and planned to just find 3 - 4 subscribers to get a feel for the kind of work and to see if I wanted to upscale it. Within 2 months I had an unexpected number of paying subscribers, ever since it’s become a bigger occupation than initially planned.

What are you passionate about when you're not working?

Apart from music, which you could have guessed by my work as a DJ, I am well known for my passion for food If you happen to pass by Berlin I can take you on a huge tour with lots of stories about all my favourite places. The fact that one can actually afford to eat out constantly in Berlin is one of the huge things I always look forward to when coming back from abroad. In my mind, it’s the place where you get the best food on a reasonable budget.

What do you find most inspiring about your city? And what would you recommend a visitor should see or do?

I’ll try to bring up a point that you have not heard already, as Berlin is a hot topic in small-talk all around the globe. One thing that separates Berlin from other hip cities like Barcelona / London / New York etc. is it’s unique relation to space. In the beginning of the 20th century, Berlin was meant to hold a maximum of 6 million people. Because of the second world war and it’s isolation during the cold war, Berlin now actually holds less inhabitants than it was built to accommodate! This is absolutely unique. Despite the huge growth in numbers during the large decades, this fact leads to Berlin still holding open spaces, unused territories and (comparatively) low rents. In my opinion, this single fact is responsible for creating the room for opportunity, flexibility, craziness and venture that made Berlin what it is today. In Berlin, you can find an unused room somewhere for a really low rent, set up some tables and call it a Club. It might work, it might fail, but there’s not much to lose, you don’t need to invest much. This drives innovation.

Are there any trends, cultural shifts or movements emerging in Berlin right now that really excite you?

The Berlin start-up scene is very vibrant in Berlin, I am particularly interested in how this sector develops. Will the next European Facebook / Google / Twitter emerge here?

What do you think the major changes in Berlin will be in the next 5 years?

The biggest challenge is coping with all the people moving into the city. Will Berlin become a void, colourless, mainstream and student-oriented place or will it keep it’s quirky and very diverse identity?

Which brand would you most like to have an influence on and how would you like them to change?

Probably the FIFA and UEFA. Ever since I read “how they stole the game” (I have some substantial criticism with the book itself too) I developed a deep disgust with these organisations and if I could choose, I would transform them. They have no interest at all in change though. Speaking of product-based brands: I’d kind of like to change the way almost any given traditional company (as in companies that exist for more than 10 years) speaks to their sub-30 year old customers. They have a horrible, horrible intuition of how to communicate with them.

If you could improve just one thing in the world what would it be?

Transparency where it is appropriate. In private, in public, in economics. In the right places, it’s the antidote to a lot of problems.

Is there anything you'd like to share with the rest of The Sense Network?

In the age of irony, it’s much easier to be a cynic than an optimist. Dare to be positive!

Field Senser

Sina Haghiri

Sina Haghiri