Darren Chua, Co-Founder & CEO of Markedshot, on the Books that Contributed to His Learnings

Darren Chua is an entrepreneur on a quest to enable photographers to be rewarded for their work.

Together with his friend Nur Iman Izam Bin Othman, he co-founded Markedshot, a user-generated content platform that enables brands to crowdsource photos, and reward consumers and fans.

Through Markedshot, businesses can drive powerful campaigns with content that’s authentic, local, and proven to engage. They can purchase these custom photos directly from their customers or Markedshot’s pool of 100,000 active photographers, and build their custom marketing library at the same time.

Markedshot started as an MVP and attracted thousands of users in its first three month of launch. The startup is now invested by Mediacorp & Jireh Group, supported by AppWorks Taiwan & NUS Enterprise.

Darren always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but preferred not to rush things just for the sake of it. That’s why he first gained experience working and consulting in China, Taiwan and Singapore, getting exposed to every aspect of the business, from logistics to manufacturing, growing new markets etc.

Keep on reading to find out more about the books that contributed to his learning, whose lessons inspired him to seek experiences and advice beyond the typical school system, and what book determined him to be an entrepreneur.


What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.

The first book that inspired me was actually Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I read the book when I was 12 and provided me with another perception of school and money. It was a good starting point for me to reconsider everything that was taught in school. School does not prepare us for life after graduation. Robert’s lessons inspired me to seek experiences and advice beyond the typical school system.

The other books that contributed to my learnings are “How to win friends and influence people”, “The Lean Startup”; “The 7 habits of highly effective people” – I’m sure you have gotten much responses regarding those books and how much they have helped managers/CEOs/entrepreneurs.

The lessons from these books were very critical in providing me a direction. They don’t often provide clear answers on how to create a successful business, but what they teach are the principles and techniques to run one.

On the fiction side of books, I am a fan of Jeffrey Archer books. I have read every single one of his books. I love how he enables me to enter a whole new world and I love his style of storytelling.


Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?

Definitely. There were numerous moments of epiphany and enlightenment. I was seeking lessons in leadership and motivating people. Lessons from what I read helped me apply them to real world locations and in building real and sincere relationships instantly with people I just met.

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What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)

I would say Rich Dad Poor Dad. It threw me out of my comfort zone and led me to ask questions that I never knew possible. Does good grades means success in life? Especially in my country, Singapore, much emphasis is placed on grades/education level/type of degrees. From a young age, our future is determined by grades and career path. Very often, you will hear parents in Singapore telling their kids, “ If your grades are low, how do you expect to earn big money? Do you want to be trash collector? “

I lost interest in school and only did well knowing that it was prerequisite to “having doors opened” / opportunities in Singapore.

I was determined to be an entrepreneur right after reading that book. It further allowed me to seek other opinions and lessons from successful people.


What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)

How to win friends and influence people
Lean Startup
The power of habit
7 habits of highly effective people
The hard things about hard things
Blue Ocean strategy
Rich Dad series
Who moved my cheese


I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?

I am quite embarrassed to answer this question. Lately, I have not been doing enough reading on books.

However, I do subscribe to blogs/feeds/articles where I spend a few moments each day reading while commuting. These bite size articles and information are supplement to my lack of reading these days.

I usually read on my digital devices.


How do you make time for reading?

I often read in between breaks or while commuting.


Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?

Yes. Note taking is very important. Usually after understanding a concept, I will write it down in my own words, in my own context. I usually write in short point sentences in my notes app whereby I can refer to them at any time.


How do you choose what books to read next?

I am usually referred to them by my mentors who are avid readers.


Do you prioritize those recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?

I would usually read those highly recommended by my mentor. He is a business owner and he reads plenty of business/self-help/health books.


Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?

I am hoping to pick up on where I left off for “The hard things about hard things”. Ben Horowitz is brutally honest and the lessons are very much applicable to my current startup.



Links where you can follow Darren Chua or find out more about Markedshot:

  • Markedshot
  • Markedshot blog
  • Markedshot @ iOS Appstore | Google Playstore
  • Markedshot @ Facebook | Linkedin | Instagram | Twitter
  • Darren’s Linkedin account
  • Powered by the crowd: Mediacorp-backed startup, Markedshot focuses on harnessing the power of UGC
  • Darren Chua, Co-Founder & CEO of Markedshot [AsianEntrepreneur interview]
  • Darren Chua: I Gave Up A Lot To Do This, If We Don’t Have The Passion, We Cannot Do It


  • All books mentioned by Darren Chua in this interview:

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