Guided Goals Podcast #2: Project Management with Dave Johnson

Dave J Title CardDo you have a fabulous idea?

Is there a project you’ve always wanted to start?

Are you tired of putting your dreams on hold?

Our guest today is Dave Johnson and we’re going to talk about building your passion project. Dave is the Tech Editorial Director at eHow and is the editor-in-chief of a new site he just launched called He is a long-time tech journalist and author of about three dozen books on tech and photography.

Techwalla, which has been in development for the last four or five months, is a review site, like Rotten Tomatoes, but for tech gadgets and products.


Dave got to launch his passion project at work. He had additional resources and started a few steps ahead of a someone working on their passion project on the side. Dave considered keeping this idea to himself and launching it on his own. However, he notes, if also you work at the kind of company where you can pitch an idea, you may as well try. You never know. They could say, “yes.”

If you want to do it outside of work, look for friends and associates who have spare time and can help develop the website or app. It’s basically the same thing, but you are putting together a group of people who can only give you part of their time, as it would be their passion project, as well.

Both are feasible ways of tackling your pursue a passion project. Dave got to work on his project with a low risk, but it is owned by his employer Demand Media. When you do it yourself with other resources, it’s going to take a lot longer and you will have to absorb a lot of expenses.


  • Create a persuasive, PowerPoint deck. Be sure to include market research (collect data online) too. Make your presentation simple and easy to read and understand. (This is important, whether you pitch to the higher-ups at work or to friends for collaboration.)
  • For a project like this you will end up wearing a lot of hats. Educate yourself by doing research on the internet and reaching out to your network.
  • Remember the old adage: “Measure twice, cut once.” Be deliberate about how you plan everything before you move forward.


Trello is Dave’s go-to tool for keeping track of his project. It’s simple, understandable, and accessible on every device.
Create categories and put to-dos in each one. And it’s free.

He also works with Google Docs and Sheets, since they are easy to share and collaborate.

Work/Life Balance

Dave says he’s been a little too far on the work side and not enough on the life side. While the project management parts were hard work, he finds the editorial/content items enjoyable. So he would save those parts – writing, creating product reviews, about us – for the weekends. So on the weekends, he could unwind with the writing.

Professional Goal of the Week #1: Take a piece of paper and pen, and sketch out one to three ideas for your passion project.

Professional Goal of the Week #2: Show it to someone who is not a significant other and get their honest feedback.

“Enjoy what you do,” Dave says, “because [if you move forward], you will be living with it for a while.”

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The Guided Goals Podcast gives you the tools, direction, and resources you need to pursue your passion project. Thanks for tuning in.

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About Debra: A project catalyst, Debra Eckerling works with individuals and small businesses to create a strategy, set goals and manage their projects. Follow Debra @GuidedGoals, Like Guided Goals on Facebook, Subscribe to YouTube.