Recently, a new intern called Juzou started working at MakeLeaps. As part of our SEO plan put together by Patrick McKenzie (patio11), one of Juzou’s tasks was to generate content for MakeLeaps by researching and writing about things that would be interesting and useful to Japanese small business owners who may be in need of an invoicing tool.
Juzou did some research by himself, and I provided him with some sites to explore for inspiration. Two of the sites he ended up looking at were:
However instead of creating original content, Juzou mis-understood the instructions and immediately went to work translating these articles into Japanese. It was only after he had finished both articles, that we all realised what had happened.
He had spent about 6 hours working on both articles, and making actually very good Japanese translations. Of copywrited content.
I personalised the email in various ways of course, but here is the basic email template:
My name is Jason, and I’m the co-founder of MakeLeaps in Japan.
<quick re-cap of the situation>
However, because Juzou wrote a nice article, I’d hate to scrap the whole thing. Having run businesses for 8 years, any kind of waste goes against my bootstrapping nature, so I was wondering if you’d mind if we published it, giving you full credit and a link back to your article and your profile page, and a full license to use the Japanese translation however you want ?
If not, I completely understand.
Either way, thanks very much for your time in reading my email, and all the best.
Within 24 hours I got friendly responses from both Naval and James giving us permission to use the translated articles.
Happily, I was able to turn:
- 6 hours of seemingly wasted work, and
- 2 unusable pieces of copywrited content
- 2 new very high quality articles for the MakeLeaps Blog (both in Japanese, of course!)
- A connection with two guys I respect a great deal
- Some market exposure in Japan for both James and Naval, and
- A blog post (you’re reading it)
A good reminder to myself that seemingly bad, wasteful situations may be a great outcome in disguise.
Care to share any anecdotes in the comments on how you’ve turned bad situations into a great outcome?