The Ryanair Test for Technology

A classic lens to prob the potential impact of a new technology is to explore that technology from adversarial points of view: What might a criminal do with this? An ex? A corrupt official?

I’d like to propose something I’ve been doing for some time informally, which is to consider not just the adversarial angle but also that of slightly shabby implementation.

What if this existed not in its ideal manifestation but one characterized by the need for aggressive monetization? I mentally refer to this as the Ryanair Test for Technology.

So how does this work? Just imagine what a new product or service might look like in real life if it was operated by Ryanair. If it was cheap, and no-frills, and there would be a lot of upsell. Would it still be cool, or totally suck? Where would all the up-sell happen? How would it be to be blasted with ads while using that service?

I’ve found this to be pretty useful to imagine new products or services without going to the extremes of malicious intent: Just a version of that thing that’s not as good; that operates under real-world pressures. It’s quite useful.