“I'm going to school off and on right now because I got a new job.”

"Thats cool! What are you doing?"

"I'm making toilets."


"Yeah, toilets. I was at The Pinhook (a bar in Durham, North Carolina) and I started chatting with the guy next to me. Turns out that he's an engineer at Research Triangle Institute. We chatted for a while about what he did and I asked him if they were hiring for electronics technicians. At the end of our conversation, he asked me if I was interested in a job. Within 2 months, I was working there, designing toilets."

"Why toilets?"

"They got a grant from the Gates Foundation, which is focused on eliminating illnesses and disease. We're designing toilets for places that have no infrastructure because sanitation is a big problem in lots of these places. These toilets will be designed to be built by 2 people in 2 days."

"Wow, that's amazing!"

"Yeah. We also have to turn the shit into pellets that can be burned to create electricity. That's easier said than done. Everyone thinks that shit is a homogeneous mixture, but it turns out that it's not. It often clogs stuff up, so we had to find a way to break it up. We finally figured out a way of doing it. We were really excited when we produced a pellet."

"What a great job! You're going to make the lives of millions and millions of people better."

"If you'd told me a year ago that I'd be designing toilets and having dinner and drinks with a director from the Gates Foundation, I'd have told you you were crazy. Now I get to work with electronics and shit, and I'm having a blast doing it."