The life-changing power of a spiky point of view

spiky point of view

Over the past few weeks, I have been taking classes from Wes Kao, one of the co-founders of the learning platform Maven. I’ll tell you WHY I was taking those classes in a moment, but first I want to share with you an important lesson I learned about the spiky point of view. It’s a perspective that solves a lot of problems in this competitive content world.

Wes has been teaching me how to be a better teacher. If you don’t follow her, you should. She is simply a brilliant entrepreneur and an inspiration. And I love her concept of the spiky point of view. This is how she describes it:

Wes Kao

Wes Kao

A spiky point of view is a perspective others can disagree with.

It’s a belief you feel strongly about and are willing to advocate for.

It’s your thesis about topics in your realm of expertise.

A spiky point of view is almost impossible to imitate.It’s unique to each person, which is why it’s such a powerful competitive advantage. It’s rooted in your conviction and authenticity.

The reason I love this so much is that it succinctly articulates something I have been trying to say for a while. I recently wrote about the importance of being bold, for example, and how being a nonconformist is important. But this spiky view thing seems to capture all of this and more. Let’s unpack this today.

How to bring out your spiky point of view

spiky point of view

Source: Wes Kao

Here are some of the things Wes taught me about the spiky point of view:

1. A spiky point of view can be debated.

2. A spiky point of view isn’t controversial for the sake of it.

3. A spiky point of view teaches your audience something relevant they don’t already know.

4. A spiky point of view is rooted in evidence, but it doesn’t have to be a proven fact or universal truth.

5. A spiky point of view requires conviction. 

You have to be brave enough to advocate for what you believe in. It’s not a passive regurgitation of information. There’s a stance of advocacy and a bias toward action. You’re trying to convince someone of this spiky point of view because you genuinely believe they’ll be better for it.

Examples of spiky points of view

Through the spiky point of view lens, I started evaluating my own work and I discovered that almost everything I create is spiky! Examples of some of the content ideas I’ve shared include:

  • Content shock — Content marketing is not sustainable for many businesses
  • We are in a post-SEO world where authority is more important than pandering to keywords.
  • Your company “why” doesn’t matter. People only care about their why.
  • Facebook is the most dangerous company in the world.
  • Contrary to what the gurus tell you, you don’t have to be everywhere, all the time. You can’t be great in 10 places. And you have to be great. So pick one channel and dominate it.

… and so on. Call me Mr. Spiky.

It dawned on me that perhaps this has helped me stand out on the web even more than talent, consistency, or passion. I have a consistently spiky point of view.

Developing your own spiky point of view

Here are some of the prompts that Wes uses to help people create a unique and spiky point of view:

  1. What are 3–5 spiky points of view you have about your craft?

  2. What’s something you believe that others might disagree with? These should be on topics where you are credible and that are relevant for your audience. Otherwise it’s a random hot take or opinion, and opinions are cheap.

  3. What do you wish more people understood? This should be something that makes you a little angry or frustrated. Conviction and emotion matter here—if it’s something you’re ambivalent about, it’s not worth your time to convince others.

  4. Jot down what you’ve said that made your audience (customers, clients) say “Hmm I never thought of it like that before. This is so true and it’s making me rethink a lot of things.”

  5. What’s a generally accepted best practice that everyone seems to do or believe is good, that you think is not useful or doesn’t work based on your experience?

Now, what was this all about?

Why am I taking these classes to become a better teacher? Because I’ll be teaching my FIRST EVER ONLINE PRIVATE COURSE through Maven.

For years, people have begged me to create an online course based on the powerful personal branding lessons and research from my book KNOWN. I’ve always resisted this idea because personal branding is … personal. I knew that I couldn’t make a pre-recorded video series and truly help people in a meaningful way.

But Maven is different because it’s all LIVE. That’s right. It’s all me. And I am so excited!

My course is a unique immersive Master Class in Personal Branding in a small group environment — the class is limited to just 10 people. In addition to the attention that comes with a small classes size, I’ll be incorporating 1:1 coaching sessions to make sure you SUCCEED and on the right path to a lifetime of business benefits.

I am now accepting applications to the class. If you don’t get into this first course, I’ll be repeating the class in a few weeks so there will be an active waiting list. I hope you’ll join me in this journey to create an effective and powerful personal brand — for you!


Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. He is the author of some of the world’s bestselling digital marketing books and is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

Follow Mark on TwitterLinkedInYouTube, and Instagram.

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