Oded Ben David

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On November 25, 2017, Oded Ben David commented on Foxconn: Out-Foxing Protectionism :

I appreciate the proposed idea of messaging and think this is one of the cases in which building coalitions and cooperating directly with your end-customers might be a very wise strategy. I think that the answer to the question “How important is public perception in developed countries such as the U.S” is “Very important”. However, I wonder if Foxconn, as a China based company should communicate the consequences to the American public, or if it must cooperate with its American customers such as Apple, to gain credibility. As I think that the latter option is more logical and feasible, this strategy seems to be more complicated: one of the main reasons of Trump being elected was the outrage of many Americans over Wall Street, Corporate America and those who have been benefited by globalization. Consequently, I’m not sure that companies such as Apple can benefit from cooperating with Foxconn to convey the message of the hit to consumer surplus derived from the new tariffs- they can easily be depicted as biased. An alternative might be recruiting neutral, prominent key opinion leaders who are not recognized with a specific corporate (for example, influential tech bloggers) and provide them with data of the damage caused to American households by the new tariffs. The social media may do the rest. This seems to me as a safe and effective PR strategy.

On November 25, 2017, Oded Ben David commented on Isolationism: How to kill American solar :

One of my main concerns regarding the proposal of NEE building a coalition with other stakeholders negatively impacted by the trade tariffs is the fact that these kinds of coalitions have been built across America lately in various sectors and industries as an obvious outcome of the new administration’s policies. Consequently, and since isolationism is one of the administration’s robust foundations, I would be highly skeptical of the effectiveness of this strategy- it might be too little and too late.
An interesting long term strategy for NEE might be diversify its operation by entering new markets, as Peter offers. I think that even if import tariffs had stayed unchanged, NEE would have needed to diversify its geographic presence to be well positioned for future growth (as growth in America is not endless). NEE can then try and look for local manufacturers of cheap solar modules in a new territory, such as in Latin America or Sub Saharan Africa, where potential is high and costs are relatively low. This can boost sales in the new region of operation, as shipment cost is lower than importing the panels from China, reduce NEE’s dependency, and risk, on China and, if the new tariff is specifically applied for importing solar modules from China (as the new administration prioritize barriers on trade with China), might also mitigate the affect on importing solar panels to America.

On November 23, 2017, Oded Ben David commented on Pfizer’s digital supply chain transformation: innovation or necessity? :

Having read this interesting article, I thought of the idea of Pfizer providing physicians with visibility to its own inventory and availability on different points of sales as a possible differentiation.
I believe that Pfizer can take advantage of two important trends mentioned in the article, the rise of generics and the shift to e-commerce space for prescription medications, to differentiate itself in digitization. As the main threat for Pfizer in the generics trend is commoditization of medication, the rise of generics may erode the physicians’ desire to write a prescription for a unique, specific medicine. Under these circumstances, a big brand such as Pfizer that its medicines are available on many points of sale across the country might gain a competitive advantage that smaller, generic companies cannot gain. Consequently, Pfizer may cooperate with clinics and physicians, exposing them to online inventory of prescription medication near the patient’s home, thus driving convenience and gaining the patient’s and physician’s trust. During the patient’s visit, the physician will ask the patient where the most convenient place for him to get the prescribed medication is. Exposed to Pfizer’s daily update (and, obviously, not directly to Pfizer’s inventory data base), the physician will then check availability of Pfizer’s medicine and inform the client with the results. This might be a classic example of how a manufacturer cooperates with its client to create value along the supply chain: the manufacturer preserves its market share in a competitive market, reinforcing its customer promise of providing best care in real time across the country; the physician makes sure that her patient takes his medication and gains the patient’s trust; and the patient saves time by being confident that his prescription is available on his favorite point of sale.

A main drawback of this proposal is its compatibility with ethics- too-close connection between a commercial giant and physicians is problematic. However, is there a real difference from today’s close relationships between pharma giants and doctors?

On November 22, 2017, Oded Ben David commented on Will Cash Always Be King? What Does It Mean for ATMs? :

Very interesting, Pranay. Makes you wonder which other “kodaks” are struggling out there in different industries…
I must admit that NCR’s current strategy makes sense to me and, based on your analysis, I think that they have a sound reason to look forward with optimism.
First, as number of cash transactions shrinks, NCR’s total revenue has been almost stable, so it seems to me that the company had prepared itself for this threat for many years. In addition, you mentioned interesting examples for innovation that has already been executed by NCR such as ITMs that give the customer a choice of self-service. To my understanding, this might be a lucrative path as machine-based products for customer service are expected to gain ground in the upcoming years. Maybe NCR can look for customer-based products that are not only within the financial services industry to drive its growth further. Lastly, I totally agree with you that long-standing relationships with customers is a valuable asset and assume that the first mover advantage is highly critical in this instance. As its competitors are struggling with the same dilemma, NCR should take the risk and offer new products and solutions to make sure that the “next ATM” will not be stolen by others.

On November 22, 2017, Oded Ben David commented on No more Champagne? :

Thank you, Jonathan, for an interesting article dealing with a topic that makes me nervous… in 2016 I visited Champagne for two weeks and became aware of the power of this brand as well as to the quality difference the Champagne makers try to emphasize.

I don’t think that major Champagne producers will be able to move to other regions if production becomes unsustainable. The capital expenditure that has been invested in their plants and the synergies between the villages in Champagne region and the producers seem impossible to duplicate. On the contrary, I think that turning towards sparkling wines might be the least worst option for the producers. If we assume that global warming is also a significant risk for wine producers (see HJ’s article), it seems plausible that the Champagne region will still keep its uniqueness and superiority over the next decades, even if the average quality of the beverage will, unfortunately, deteriorate. As it is hard to imagine the proud people of Champagne produce any other beverage, this may also be an opportunity to expand the market and reach millions who cannot afford drinking a lucrative Champagne.

Anyway, I think that the main merit of the article is that it makes us understand how global warming affects all aspects of our lives (including the quality of the bubbles in our glass).

On November 22, 2017, Oded Ben David commented on El Niño Food Crisis in Southern Africa :

Thank you so much, Yuwa, for shedding some light on one of the world’s most rural places.

The article made me wonder if the current aid provided to Africa by foreign countries and agencies, as generous as it might be, is efficient in preparing Malawai and other Sub-Saharan countries to the challenges of global warming. Based on previous conversations we had I understand that Malawai is highly dependent on donations from other countries. As you mentioned in the article, “the local government can only implement irrigation projects in phases at the moment”, I wonder if this foreign aid, instead of focusing on solving the imminent problem of drought, should change the focus to investing in infrastructure and, specifically, to building irrigation systems. In other words, and building on your question at the end of the passage, I’m afraid that ADMARC and similar agencies may serve as an appropriate social safety for the short term (they “give man a fish, and feed him for a day”) but lack the strategic aspect of “teaching a man to fish, and feed him for a lifetime”.

Would be very happy to discuss this topic further.