When I graduated, in 1983, I felt the tension of a pull to practice engineering in a Fortune 500 company and to answer the call of the impulses that Moses describes in this article at a community level. At the time, there were no options that merged both. His effort will reconcile those otherwise divergent worlds. I cheer him on. In my day, there was a professor of civil engineering who was in touch with an NGO executive in Jamaica who suggested that there could be a paid summer internship in Jamaica over the summer. It was a brilliant suggestion from then Professor Slaby.
Along with another Princeton student '84, I accepted and went to that opportunity as a summer effort with the intention of coming back to the USA afterward to begin working with that Fortune 500 company in September. I did both. We worked with a community in rural Jamaica to use locally designed solar fruit dryers to produce dried fruit that was used as an input in the value chain of foods. It was exhilarating and fulfilling and relevant under the banner of "appropriate technology."
I am now involved with private-equity work in Jamaica, so the interest has come full circle. What is now being pioneered is an effort to scale down the traditional economics of private equity. In particular, one of the greatest difficulties is lowering the preparatory costs to investments without compromising the results of their screen of the opportunity. Getting good information out of this critical but early stage in the process will help to preserve the returns projections and to ensure that the traditional model applies at lower scale in this environment. The end of that book has not been written yet. More is still to come.