Billion Dollar Bully Movie Release Review
May 20th, 2019 6:45 pm; and the house was full at the Roxie Theater for the San Francisco premier of “Billion Dollar Bully.”
I had the pleasure of joining the premier accompanied by one of the contributing executive producers and costars of “Billion Dollar Bully”; Mr Russell Kassman of Kassman Piano notoriety.
The film highlights alleged abuses against small businesses including his, a restaurant in Richmond and other businesses by YELP.
YELP is seen by many as the resource or rating system to go to on business quality standards. The film raises questions about the huge corporation’s business practices; managing those ratings and that makes for a compelling, and somewhat damning storyline. The film highlights a cross section of examples of small businesses across the US that “felt as if an extortion scheme” was being prevailed upon them by YELP and its sales team.
The documentary raises unnerving questions of ethics; highlighting the platform reviews of the 911 Memorial Exhibit and even of the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp? Is no place sacred to the reaches of Silicon Valley opportunism? That is a question the viewer is left to ponder.
The documentary highlights some amazing perseverance by small business leaders; fighting back, against the public company of YELP. It is clearly heartening and also entertaining.
The film highlights interesting legal perspectives of loopholes in the laws. It highlights; how our state and federal legislators and regulators, are not current to business practices of some Silicon Valley schemes. A perspective from a representative of the FTC was procedurally eye opening.
The small business owners highlighted; each were unique characters, in how they fought back. Now after several years their voices are finally being heard by a broader audience.
After seeing the movie, the viewer, will never look at a YELP review the same again.
After the premier there was a great Q & A with the director, Kaylie Milliken of Prost Productions, who is extremely talented and has persevered the significant pressures to finally get her first movie released. Facing an uphill battle put before her, of intimidation by attorneys, and the power of a large company, she has demonstrated the persistence of female empowerment.
She may very well be what Michael Moore was to Flint Michigan to Silicon Valley in the years to come. This movie may well be her very own “Roger and Me.”
The scene in the film at the entrance to YELP felt eerily similar to the feeling the viewer got when Michael Moore attempts to interview gun executives in “Bowling for Columbine”, unsettled and uneasy.
As would be expected there was no response nor comment from Yelp.
The movie is now released and available for download on Amazon as of the May 21st. Congratulations and salute to the small business owners and the team that had the bravery to come forward in a co-staring roles and to direct and produce this story that needed to be told.
Chris Edwards May 20. 2019 -Author 90 Days to a Glass Half Full Lifestyle -Available on Amazon.
#BillionDollarBully – Available on Amazon