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The new tech titans are building the tools that influence our daily lives, giving us games like Words With Friends, and the ability to stream our favorite TV shows wherever we are, on whatever gadgets we choose.
But where do they rest their bleary eyes after their late-night hackathons? Some prefer a modest place to call home, belying their rock-star-nerd status. But others have splurged, showing it really pays to be a geek after all.
By Ellen Lee, Special to CNBC.com
Updated 12 March 2012
Location: Palo Alto, Calif.
Cost: $7 million
Bathrooms: 5 full, 2 half
Square footage: 5,617
Mark Zuckerberg's new digs are a long way from the Harvard dorm where he and his classmates founded the popular social networking site Facebook.
The baby-faced CEO plunked down a cool $7 million for the Palo Alto pad last year, which includes a salt water pool and spa. Still, to some, it's considered modest, given that Facebook may be going public this year in what some say could make the social networking website worth more than $100 billion.
Built in 1903, Zuckerberg's homestill holds its turn-of-the-century charm, but with modern luxuries. Zuckerberg can entertain friends with its outdoor fireplace and built-in barbecue. The master bathroom has an old-fashioned marble soaking tub as well as heated floors. There's also a sun room that opens up to the yard.
The best part for the well-known workaholic? It's just a stone's throw away from Facebook's new Menlo Park headquarters.
Location: San Francisco
Cost: $8.9 million
Square footage: 4,000
You may build your fantasy real estate empire in CityVille, the popular Facebook game, but Mark Pincus has one in real life.
Pincus, founder and CEO of Zynga, maker of CityVille, FarmVille, Words With Friends and other popular online games, just sold two homes.
He and wife Alison Pincus, co-founder of One Kings Lane, a flash sales site for luxury home goods, sold a Presidio Heights mansion in late February for $8.455 million. In late January, the power couple also sold a Cole Valley home for $1.89 million.
The stately Presidio Heights mansion includes a penthouse level with a terrace, office and master bedroom and bathroom, as well as a media room and an au pair unit. The Cole Valley home boasts panoramic views of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Location: New York
Cost: $20 million
Bathrooms: 7 full, 1 half
Square footage: 7,500
Sean Parker disputes his bad boy portrayal by Justin Timberlake in the 2010 film "The Social Network." But the former Facebook president and Napster co-founder is certainly living it up in his new home, a $20 million West Village townhouse known as the Bacchus House.
Formerly owned by Italian liquor heir Enrico Cinzano, it includes an indoor pool and gym, garage, theater, a chef's kitchen and an elevator.
Parker, now a managing director at the Founders Fund, a San Francisco venture capital firm, and a director of Spotify, an online music service, purchased it last year, after renting it for some time and throwing his share of over-the-top parties.
Location: Atherton, Calif.
Cost: $7,995,000 in 2004
Square footage: 12,470
Last fall Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, became the latest Silicon Valley tech titan to welcome President Obama to her home in Atherton.
Sandberg and husband David Goldberg, CEO of SurveyMonkey, held the $38,500-per person fundraiserin their five-bedroom, 8.5-bath home.
Obama isn't the only VIP to come through their doors.Sandberg has also hosted exclusive soirees with guests such as Geena Davis, Billie Jean King and Rupert Murdoch at her Atherton home. It's also here where the couple raise their two children and where Sandberg first got to know Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg before leaving Google to help run the rapidly growing social networking site.
The couple bought another house in the neighboring town of Menlo Park that was sold in "as-is" condition. The property’s listing on the Zillow.com real estate website says "This older home is quite livable, but likely is ready for major renovation or a perfect site for a new home!"
Location: Palo Alto
Cost: $5 million (assessed value; it appears she purchased it for $1.8 million)
Square footage: 5,200
Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg isn't the only one who has hosted the president in her Silicon Valley home. In late 2010, Marissa Mayer, vice president at Google, and husband Zachary Bogue, co-founder of Founders Den, a shared office space and private club for tech entrepreneurs in San Francisco, also threw a $30,000-per-plate fundraiser for President Obamain their Palo Alto home.
That night, Mayer even tweeted about the event: "The President came to our house for dinner tonight. It was absolutely surreal!"
Mayer's home is just a few blocks from the garage where Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded HP, as Mayer pointed out during the fundraiser.
Location: Newport Beach, Calif.
Cost: $3.4 million (sale price, 2009)
Square footage: 4,769
Tim Vanderhook, with the help of Justin Timberlake, is aiming to bring sexy back to MySpace, the social networking site that lost its edge to Facebook a few years ago.
Vanderhook and his brothers Chris and Russell started Specific Media in 1999,which acquired MySpace from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. last year for $35 million.
Vanderhook is looking to reinvent MySpace as an "entertainment experience,"much like his Newport Beach home. Its deck looks out to expansive views of Orange County, and there's a small gazebo and pool in the backyard.
Location: Corte Madera, Calif.
Cost: $3.2 million (sale price, 2009)
Square footage: 5,066
Dick Costolotook over as CEO of Twitter last year, about a year after moving to the San Francisco Bay Area from Chicago.
Costolo lives with his family in a roomy five bedroom, 5.5-bath house in Corte Madera,just across the bay from Twitter's San Francisco headquarters. Built in 1908, the house wraps around a courtyard with an outdoor fireplace.
Costolo said the weather factored into his decision to uproot from Chicago.He told the Chicago Tribune last fall, "My wife and I were just talking about how miserably hot and humid it was in Chicago. And how miserable the previous winter was, and we had good friends who had moved out to Marin the year before, whose kids were the same age as our kids, and we really just decided: That's it. We're getting out of here."
Location: San Francisco
Cost: $2.4 million (sale price, 2009)
Square footage: 3,001
Evan Williams helped launch two influential Internet startups, Blogger, now part of Google, and Twitter, which last year pumped out 60 billion tweets.Now Williams has teamed up again with Twitter co-founder Biz Stone to build Obvious Corp.One of its current projects is developing Lift,an application that uses positive reinforcement to encourage people.
When he's not busy building the next big thing, Williams kicks back in his San Francisco Victorian in family-friendly Noe Valley.Built in 1900, the home was renovated several years ago and includes high, dramatic ceilings and a fireplace in the family room, a modern chef's kitchen with a breakfast bar, and a guest house in the backyard.
Location: Berkeley, Calif.
Square footage: 808
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has moved on beyond his Berkeley cottage to a new home across the bay in Corte Madera. But it's still worth a peek, if just for the "before" chapter in the story of the social media startup’s co-founder.
Designed by famed architect William Wurster,the cozy two-bedroom, two-bath home has bamboo floors, loads of skylights and natural light, redwood ceilings and a separate free-standing "poet's cottage." Stone sold it in 2009 to be closer to wife Liz Stone's job in Marin.
Stone announced to the world that they were selling the place when he tweeted, "We loved our Wurster cottage in Berkeley but it's time to move — if you're into architecture, check it out." It sold shortly thereafter.