Non-Obvious Trends

Non-ObviousTM Trends

Ten Years of Insights Read by Over 1 Million People

Lightspeed Learning

The road to mastery of any topic is shorter thanks to the popularity of bite-sized learning modules that make education more time efficient, engaging, useful and fun.


About This Trend:

Andy Mooney, the CEO of guitar maker Fender, estimates that around 90% of those who pick up the guitar quit within the first year, and about 45% of Fender’s annual sales go to beginners who have never played before. Given the guitar is one of the most popular instruments in the world and Fender sells between 1.6 million and 2.5 million of them every year, this is a major business problem. If you abandon the guitar, you are not going to come back to Fender to buy amplifiers or accessories or upgrade to a nicer guitar. What would it take, Mooney wondered, to get people to stick with it?

Fender’s general manager of digital Ethan Kaplan decided to spend several months studying how people learned the guitar, interviewing music teachers at prominent Los Angeles schools and talked to students themselves. They learned that the truth was more complicated than just people like me making the excuse of being too busy: The real secret to encouraging aspiring guitarists to persist was to help them learn it in smaller, digestible chunks so they could feel like they were getting better quickly.

To help people get better faster, Kaplan and his team built a video subscription service called Fender Play that offers video instruction on-demand for $20 a month. The videos can be as short as a couple of minutes, feature well-known songs from popular artists and are filmed in beautiful 4K HD quality—a far cry from other guitar instruction videos on YouTube.

This is an example of the power of Light-Speed Learning: With the help of technology, the road to mastery is shorter thanks to the emergence of engaging bite-sized learning modules.


Trend Longevity Rating


Relevant For:

Originally Published In:

Non-Obvious 2018
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