Turning Wasted Work into a Great Outcome

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:

On these sites, Juzou discovered two popular articles: How to pick a co-founder, and how to email important people.

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.


After thinking about this over an espresso shot however, I ended up drafting an email to both Naval from Venturehacks, and James from Passive Panda.

I personalised the email in various ways of course, but here is the basic email template:

Hello FirstName,

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.

Warm Regards,

Jason Winder

MakeLeaps KK

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


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?

Jay Winder

Jay Winder is the Australian Co-Founder of MakeLeaps. Jason came to Japan in 2001 to study martial arts, set up his first business called Webnet IT in 2003, and set up MakeLeaps in 2010 with the vision of unlocking the potential of freelancers and businesses in Japan with clean and powerful software. If you like, follow me on Twitter.

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