Book presentation From Luxury to Necessity: what the railways, electricity and the automobile teach us about the IT revolution – Sjoerd Bakker

On April 20 2017 Dasym hosted the presentation of the book From Luxury to Necessity at its Amsterdam-based subsidiary Freedomlab. The book describes how different technological revolutions, from railways and electricity to ICT radically changed the way in which we live, work, eat, travel, shop and enjoy ourselves. These profound changes in consumer behavior form a core part of the Dasym Investment Philosophy.

In the book, author Sjoerd Bakker sheds new light on the current IT revolution, showing the remarkable similarities between past and present technological innovations, and helps us to understand how new and existing consumer practices evolve with new technologies. In his opening presentation Bakker presented the most intriguing findings from his book and illustrated these with both historic and current examples.

Bakker noted that it is striking that even though each revolution would develop into absolute necessities within decades, all began as novelties for which meaningful uses were unclear. The true value of these technologies was only recognized when consumers began including them in new and valuable initiatives.

Van rooyen:

Historical parallels with previous technological revolutions have provided Dasym with inspiration to source the second and third order effects of information technologies

The book presentation was followed by a keynote speech from Prof. dr. Keetie Sluyterman on the impact of new technologies in everyday life in the Netherlands. Even though the Dutch were never at the frontier of technological development, they are early adopters of new technologies. Companies such as Philips eagerly embraced the new possibilities as did Dutch consumers. Today the Netherlands still provide a useful indicator for changes in consumer behavior.

Following these speeches the CIO of Dasym, Peter van Rooyen, received the first copy from Sjoerd Bakker. In a short explanation Van Rooyen outlined the relevance of this work in Dasym’s investment philosophy. Van Rooyen highlighted how historical parallels with previous technological revolutions have provided Dasym with inspiration to source the second and third order effects of information technologies. As such this study will assist the further build out of the historical foundation of Dasym’s investment approach.


About the study

This study is the initiative of Dasym’s ongoing research activities in light of its investment philosophy, which was originally developed by Dasym founder and CEO Frank Botman.

Guidance in the writing of this book was provided by Chief Investment Officer Peter van Rooyen together with dr. Haroon Sheikh, who is Dasym’s lead researcher and hegemonic economist. The study was carried out in cooperation with prof. dr. Keetie Sluyterman and dr. Joost Dankers from the Social and Economic History group at Utrecht University.

About the author

Sjoerd Bakker is an independent researcher and consultant at the crossroads of science, technology and society. He has published numerous papers on innovation and socio-technical transitions in international journals. Sjoerd holds a PhD in Innovation Studies from Utrecht University and an MA in Philosophy of Science and Technology from University of Twente.