August Turak

Author Consultant Speaker

War Stories

War Story 3: Don’t Figure It Out, Find Out

by August Turak
Eating Humble Pie on the Road to Success

When I was an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh, I was invited to take a graduate course at a professor’s home with students many years my senior. One day the word “anthropomorphic” came up. Ignorant of its meaning, I fashioned a phony question I thought would force our professor to reveal the meaning of anthropomorphic by using the term in another context. Instead she just smiled and said, “August, why don’t you just ask me what anthropomorphic means?”

The room erupted into laughter, my face burned, and I decided right then and there to never again hide my ignorance. My philosophy became that if I don’t know I ask. In other words I decided that humility is...

War Story 2: Scavenger Hunts, Scamps, and Guerrilla Marketing

by August Turak
I made my bones in guerrilla marketing when I was just 11. I was at summer camp when the powers that be announced a scavenger hunt. There were 100 items on the list from bottle caps to paper clips, and the first camper to deliver them all was slated for a couple dozen candy bars. However, when the list was handed out, I didn’t join the mad rush for the door that immediately ensued. Instead, I gathered the other boys who shared my cabin and suggested we divide the list, win the contest, and split the candy bars. In no time flat I presented all 100 items to a group of stunned and unsuspecting camp administrators. And a few minutes...

War Story 1: Fathers and Sons

by August Turak
It always helps to have a guru. When it comes to guerrilla marketing, I sat at the feet and very early in my career on the lap of a master: my old man. I grew up the oldest of eight in a 950 sq ft ranch house just outside Pittsburgh. The son of Slovak immigrants, my father was a born hustler, and when I remember my grandparents, I’m tempted to say it ran in the blood.

My Dad had the four essential ingredients every great guerrilla marketer must have: necessity, stinginess, a people orientation, and – most importantly — a true love of the game. Eight kids and the occasional dog produced a bumper crop of necessity. Exchanging favors is where...