You may know David Packouz as one of the two guys who inspired the hit film, “War Dogs.” He and Moshe chat about David’s rise (and fall) as an international arms dealer, what he learned from the experience, the fascinating process by which military contracts are won, and how David successfully pivoted to become an accomplished inventor.

Getting Into The Arms Business:

“I didn’t know anything about guns. I’d never actually been into guns, never even owned a gun. I was a musician, so more of a hippie-type of character than anything. (Efraim Diveroli) convinced me to join him, and we started working on those contracts together, and within about eight months we won this massive contract. It was a contract to supply the entire Afghan National Army and police with all their munitions. So, that’s everything from pistol ammunition, all the way up to anti-aircraft rockets, and everything in between, including tank shells. So, it was just a massive contract. I believe it was the biggest small arms contract in history, at the time.”

Was He Ever In Real Physical Danger:

“Not in the way they portray it in the film. I did not drive through the Triangle of Death in Iraq. A lot of people are disappointed to hear that, but that story actually did happen, just not to me. It happened to the screenwriter, Stephen Chin, he wrote the screenplay for ‘War Dogs.’ Before he was a Hollywood screenwriter, he was a war correspondent. He was just getting into the job at the time in 2003 and, of course, he wanted to cover the war in Iraq, but he couldn’t find a flight into Iraq. So, he flew into Jordan and hired someone to drive him into Iraq and got shot at by insurgents and got saved by the ARMY. And that whole thing actually did happen. So, the director Todd Phillips, was like, ‘We need more action in this movie. Why don’t you put your story in there.’”

Public Information From The Government:

“One thing that I did find interesting through that work is that just by looking to buy, you could kind of read between the lines of what the military was doing. So, for example, at the time we saw there was a big contract to supply a military base in Chad, in Africa. And there was nothing in the news about Chad until, like, six months later. Then suddenly there are all these military operations going on there but if you had looked at the contracts, you were like, ‘Oh, they’re gearing up to do something over there.’ So, you know, there’s a lot of public information available that people who are interested can see just by what the government posts publicly. They don’t necessarily tell you the details of what they’re doing but you could kind of read between the lines.”

What He Learned From The Experience:

“I would say the biggest lesson that I took away from there is to be very careful about who you work with. If you’re working with someone that you don’t enjoy working with, or that you have problems working with, or you don’t agree with, you kind of get swept along and you kind of become more like that person. In our adult lives, it’s , ‘Be careful who you work with, because that’s who you are going to become.’ And if you have a partner who is doing questionable things, then you get swept along with it. … I gave myself all sorts of excuses. At the time, I’d say, ‘Oh, I’ll just stick it out for a bit more. I’ll make my money and get out.’ But, it’s very difficult to have an exit point. Especially when things are going well, because then you just want a little bit more.”

Creating The Beat Buddy:

“After the whole ‘War Dogs’ thing happened, I was sentenced to seven months of house arrest. I was under house arrest playing a lot of guitar. I really missed playing with a drummer in particular, because the drummer gives the beat to the music, and the beat is the energy. But, of course, no drummer is going to bring his drum set over to my house. So, I bought a drum machine, which is a tabletop electronic device that is mainly used to compose beats, but I realized that the beat doesn’t do the same thing the entire song. When you go from verse to chorus, usually the beat gets harder. But every time I wanted to change the beat, I’d have to stop playing my guitar, press a button on the machine, go back to playing my guitar, which interrupted the flow of the music. So, I thought I really needed a drum machine that I could operate hands-free in the form factor of a guitar pedal. And I went online to look for it, but I couldn’t find anything like it. And I asked my musician friends, and they hadn’t seen anything like it either, but they all wanted one too. So, then I realized that if nobody is making it, but everyone wants it, this could be my first actual creation.”