Below is a reprint of an interview Starkwood CEO Jonas Hodges gave to Playboy Magazine 6 years ago. This is a revealing look into the mind of a defense contractor/psycho-genius:
Hodges on how he came to run the world's most powerful private defense firm:
I try to eat three-square meals a day. I don't drink cheap stuff and I smoke Cubans. My mother used to tell me "Son, you're a completely useless person." And for a while she was right. I was lazy and I cheated at cards. Then something miraculous happened to me. It was 1978, and I was at a rooster fight in Saipan with Wilford Brimley. That crazy bastard convinced me to put all of my worldly possessions on some bird named "Tarantula." The fight didn't last more than 30 seconds, and I lost everything. It was the first time that I really wanted to kill someone. So, I went into making weapons for the government- best day of my life. And Brimley... he's got diabetes.
War? What is it good for?
As long as we're around, there's gonna be some killing going on. Show me a movie where nobody gets killed and I'll show you two hours wasted. That's why I love those old Disney flicks- Bambi, Dumbo- they all had fight to survive. But maybe I'm getting too philosophical. Look, if we never went to war, nothing would be settled. We'd still be British! Brits speaking German after letting Hitler kick our asses. Boy, that would be a mess, am I right?
On hobbies and recreation:
I'm into sudoku and darts. Ever since my hip replacement, I had to give up hunting Eskimos.
How do you spot talent?
I tell my people to always strive to be their best. I don't give a hoot about what college you came out of, or what your last name is, none of that makes me happy. I got a kid who used to work in the mail room that's now my chief bioweapons salesman. I've given him the North Africa territory and holy moley can this guy sell Anthrax. I mean, come on, Anthrax is like a CD player to these dictators- it's completely done. Well, instead of dropping our whole supply on Albania, I was able to get this stuff sold and at a 30% markup.
What's your greatest fear?
Going too far with a Q-Tip. Every morning is a dance with fate for me.
Biggest pet peeve:
I can't stand seeing a lady's bra-strap showing underneath her tanktop. That and anything that comes out of the United Nations.
I'm sure I'm long overdue to finish my career. But then someone comes to me and says "Mr. Hodges, we just developed a bomb that will suck all of the air out of the enemies' lungs!" How do you walk away from a job like this? Nope, I'm a lifer.
UPDATE: Also check out the upcoming PBS special on Jonas Hodges here.