75. John A. Sobrato & family
Sobrato’s mother, an Italian immigrant, sold her late husband’s restaurant in the 1950s and used the proceeds to acquire property south of San Francisco. The first in his family to go to college, Sobrato worked 3 days a week selling houses starting his sophomore year at Santa Clara University. Then an aspiring engineer, Sobrato was put on probation because of poor grades in his engineering classes and decided to switch to business instead. The move paid off; the future mogul scored a spot on the dean’s list every semester thereafter. Today his Sobrato Organization owns prime office space across Silicon Valley, including the headquarters of Yahoo and Netflix, plus over 6,000 apartments along the West Coast.