Friday, October 17, 2008

A degree is not that important!

In paper qualification-driven Singapore, it is refreshing to see people defy convention and succeed on pure drive and determination.

As in the case of fashion photographer, Geoff Ang, a Primary school dropout who now earns up to $80,000 a day. See his inspiring story below:

Power secret – Try everything as you only have one life, no rehearsals!

Quote: Stay hungry as you can never have enough success.

● Drops out of school at Primary 6.
● Works as a basket cleaner and coffee boy at dad’s company.
● Picks up photography and shoots his first job at 16.
● Becomes a sought-after fashion photographer and earns up to $15,000 per day.
● Works hard to impress his dad and prove naysayers wrong.
● Geoff is shooting his first feature film now.

This primary school dropout now makes up to $80,000 a day as one of Asia’s most sought after photographers. Geoff Ang started his photography career at a young age, dropping out of Primary 6 and going to work for his dad’s production house. “My dad said that since I can’t study, I’d better pick up a skill and be damn good at it!” he recalls. As the resident basket cleaner and coffee maker at his dad’s company, Geoff took the time to cultivate his interest in photography and shot his first job – a full catalogue for Wilson Sporting Goods, at 16 years old.
After the army, Geoff started a small studio, called Geoff Studio, within his dad’s company. All he had were two lights and a camera from his dad and he started shooting everything from bottles and flowers to food, basically whatever he could get his hands on to hone his craft. He wanted to do fashion photography very badly, but he knew that he had to build up his exposure first, so he shot food and interiors, even specializing in office and hotel interior photography at one point, just to pay the bills. His lucky break soon came. “I had to take portraits of Daniel Yun (of Mediacorp Raintree Productions) for Dunhill and he loved his photos so much that he tasked me to shoot promotional pictures for their top 30 artistes in Mediacorp,” says this 34-year-old. Armed with his portfolio and an arsenal of ideas, Geoff blew everyone away with his stylised, avant-garde pictures of the stars which were publicised in 8-Days magazine. This forward-thinking lens man then ploughed all the profits he got from the job, all $38,000 of it, into a digital photography system which allowed him to tweak, enhance and make his photos into surreal-looking works of art. It was refreshing and never done before. It jolted the fashion industry and all the editors of magazines started calling him to do fashion shoots for them...

p.s. Bill Gates, Google guys, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Steve Jobs and Oracle's Larry Ellison were all school dropouts!

For more inspiring entrepreneurs, check out my book, Boss of Me!, out now in all major bookstores (except Borders) and on


Felix said...

so true.

great article.

Boss Of Me! said...

Hi Felix,

Thanks for your comment :)