From Cheech and Chong to real estate: How one man’s career shift ended up saving a company

How Mike Barnett went from roadie to CEO of Property Panorama
  • Former musician Mike Barnett helped Property Panorama become profitable again just a year after being named CEO.

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As far as Mike Barnett is concerned, "the day the music died" wasn't February 3, 1959 -- a fateful day in music history when a plane crash took the lives of rock 'n' rollers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. For him, the music died in the mid 1980s with the advent of disco. "Disco killed my urge to do anything more in the music business," said Barnett. Up until that point, he had managed several bands and spent two and a half years on the road with the hippie comedic duo Cheech and Chong. Mike Barnett That's when he came to the realization that he wasn't a musician at all; he was a business man who would go on to rebuild Property Panorama, one of the country's largest providers of virtual real estate tools. Origins in real estate In a sense, Barnett has returned to his fourth generation real estate roots: He sold houses for his father on the weekends during his high school years, so he's simply back in the family business. Out of high school, Barnett had no...