Book Review: Leapfrog by Nathalie Molina Niño

Literally every time I find out something new about Nathalie Molina Niño, I’m slightly blown away. From the first time I learned about her and her incredible book, Leapfrog: The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs, to today, when I discovered another tantalizing fact about her background, I’ve been impressed beyond measure.

Her background is, to put it lightly, inspiring - she relays much of it in the introduction of Leapfrog, where she begins with the story of how fiercely her abuelita worked each day, and the encouragement she gave Niño to “work as smart as she did hard”.

Niño excelled with that advice and went on to study at multiple universities, then co-founded her first business years ahead of the curve - a web development agency, in 1996.

She’s held a succession of amazing roles since then, and the experience she’s had in that time gave her all the right reasons to write Leapfrog. Namely in exploring the lack of diversity, and deficient number of opportunities available for diverse entrepreneurs, that she’s encountered on her road to success.

But the point of this book isn’t to identify how tough it is to “break the glass ceiling” as a POC, or lament on how difficult is it to prove your merit as a minority - no, this book is all about leapfrogging all of those setbacks and pushing them far behind you on your march to the top. 

Niño offers 5 sections of leapfrog hacks that deliver a total of 50 different hacks, and each is accompanied by a unique story of business success that was achieved by minorities, nearly all of them female. An added bonus for me and my easily distracted brain was that each hack is detailed and fairly elaborate, but constitute only a page or three of the book. These compact chapters really resonate with a reader such as myself because they explain everything you need to know, but in as little words as possible.

Short and sweet and packed with literally invaluable advice for entrepreneurs. 

One section focuses on how to properly fundraise your startup, and opens with the statement “Investment is overrated.” Niño goes on to explain how you need to be thinking about decreasing costs and increasing revenue, and becoming your own investor, before you even think about finding capital. 

Or there’s “Cash in on Your Woman Card”, which discusses Rosa Santana’s remarkable tale that began with the founding of a small temp agency and led her to founding Santana Group, where she’s held the title of CEO for 17 years. Along the way she also became Toyota’s first ever Hispanic, woman-owned Tier 1 supplier.

And in one of my favorite hacks, “Out-Kardashian the Kardashians: The New Influencer Marketing”, Niño talks about what Gil Eyal has learned in the years since he co-founded the influencer marketing platform HYPR. This includes the excellent reminder that a celebrity with a gigantic social following does not necessarily equate to being a killer spokesperson for your brand. The masses might be motivated to buy a hair product that’s marketed by an actress with incredible hair, but that doesn’t mean the same actress can be marketed to move massive quantities of, say, soccer balls.

There’s just so much motivational and encouraging advice on every page of this book, and it’s an excellent read for anyone. You don’t need to be thinking about developing a startup or building a company to appreciate this book. Nor do you need to be a woman in order to glean info from it!

That’s just another facet of the masterpiece that is Leapfrog. It’s all about leapfrogging your way to unlimited success for yourself, regardless of any characteristic you might have that distinguishes you from the norm, whatever that may be.

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