SVForum announces technology industry leaders and pioneers receiving 2013 Visionary Awards at June 26 event

June 5, 2013

Serial entrepreneur Steve Blank, X-Prize Foundation’s Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Google’s Ray Kurzweil and Cisco’s Padmasree Warrior to be honored. SVForum, the leading non-profit organization for developers, technologists and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, today announced its 16th annual Visionary Award recipients:

  • Steve Blank, Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur, author and academician
  • Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and CEO, X-Prize Foundation
  • Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering, Google
  • Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology & Strategy Officer, Cisco

SVForum’s annual Visionary Awards has become one of the preeminent programs honoring the industry’s foremost pioneers and leaders. Each year, the organization honors exceptional visionaries, including leading venture capitalists, technologists and entrepreneurs who personify the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation.

“This year, as SVForum proudly reflects on 30 years of driving and supporting innovation in Silicon Valley and looks ahead to the future, we are especially honored to recognize these four individuals whose numerous contributions have shaped and fueled the region, the technology industry and the world,” said Chris Gill, CEO and executive director of SVForum.

The SVForum Board of Directors selects the award recipients based on their monumental achievements and ongoing dedication to improving lives through superior technology. The 2013 Visionaries will be honored on June 26 in Los Altos Hills, Calif. Sponsors of the Visionary Awards currently include: Deloitte, Silicon Valley Bank and UBM Tech.

“These individuals have each played a significant role in the furthering of technology and innovation, inspiring others to continue to push the bounds of ‘what’s now’ and identifying ‘what’s next,’ for legions of other companies and entrepreneurs,” said Deborah Magid, board chair of SVForum. “We are proud to honor them with this recognition and add their names to a distinguished list of past SVForum Visionary award recipients.”

Visionary Honorees:

Steve Blank, Silicon Valley Serial Entrepreneur, Author and Academician

Blank is a Silicon Valley serial-entrepreneur and academician, recognized for developing the Customer Development methodology. His May Harvard Business Review article defined the Lean Startup movement. Blank, co-founder of E.piphany, has spent more than 30 years within the high technology industry, having founded or worked within eight startup companies, four of which have gone public.

Blank has published three books: The Four Steps to the Epiphany, Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost and The Startup Owner’s Manual. He is a consulting associate professor of entrepreneurship at Stanford and currently lectures at the Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley, Columbia University, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps.

He was a past Chairman of Audubon California and has also served on the board of the Peninsula Open Space Trust and was a trustee of U.C. Santa Cruz.

Peter H. Diamandis, MD

Dr. Peter H. Diamandis is an international pioneer in the fields of innovation, incentive competitions and commercial space.

In the field of Innovation, Diamandis is Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, best known for its $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private spaceflight. Today the X PRIZE leads the world in designing and operating large-scale global competitions to solve market failures. He is also the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Singularity University, a graduate-level Silicon Valley institution that studies exponentially growing technologies, their ability to transform industries and solve humanity’s grand challenges.

In the field of commercial space, Diamandis is Co-Founder/Co-Chairman of Planetary Resources, a company designing spacecraft to enable the detection and mining of asteroid for precious materials. He is the also Co-Founder and Vice Chairman of Space Adventures, the only company to have brokered the launches of private citizens to the International Space Station, and Co-Founder, past-CEO of Zero Gravity Corporation providing weightless parabolic flights.

He has won multiple awards, including the first Heinlein Laureate, the 2010 Economist “No Boundaries” Innovator of the Year Award, the 2007 Arthur C. Clarke Award, the 2006 Lindbergh Award, the 2006 Neil Armstrong Award and first place in the Estes rocket design contest when he was an 8th grader.

Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering, Google

Currently Director of Engineering at Google, Kurzweil has been described as “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes. PBS included Kurzweil as one of 16 “revolutionaries who made America,” along with other inventors of the past two centuries.

Kurzweil was the principal inventor of the first CCD flatbed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition.

In 1999, Kurzweil received the National Medal of Technology, the nation’s highest honor in technology, from President Clinton in a White House ceremony. In 2002, he was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame, established by the U.S. Patent Office. Kurzweil has received nineteen honorary doctorates, and has authored seven books, five of which have been national bestsellers.

Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology & Strategy Officer, Cisco

Warrior, widely recognized for her creative, visionary leadership, is charged with aligning technology development and corporate strategy to enable Cisco to anticipate, shape and lead major market transitions. In her previous role, Warrior served as chief technology officer (CTO) and also co-led Cisco’s worldwide engineering organization. Warrior joined Cisco in 2007. Prior to that, she was executive vice president and CTO at Motorola.

Forbes has named her one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” two years running, Business Insider called her one of the “25 Most Influential Women in Wireless,” and the Aspen Institute honored her with its first Leadership in Science and Technology Award. The Wall Street Journal has called Warrior one of “50 Women to Watch,” Fast Company included her among the “100 Most Creative People in Business,” and The Economic Times listed her as “the 11th Most Influential Global Indian.”

Warrior has also been awarded a number of industry honors and has served on government initiatives, industry advisory boards, charitable and community organizations.

About SVForum

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, SVForum is a leading Silicon Valley not-for-profit organization. SVForum provides an unbiased source of information and insight to the technology community. SVForum engages the community by creating connections and community, providing education and access to resource and linking the global business community to Silicon Valley. SVForum provides the latest insights on emerging technology trends and best business practices through events, specialized services and resources. SVForum reaches 15,000 technology professionals annually through more than 20 events each month. SVForum partners include global leaders Accenture, Deloitte, IBM, Microsoft, Nokia, Qualcomm and SAP, as well as leading venture capital firms, service providers and the Sobrato Family Foundation.

For further information, visit the SVForum website at For further information on the SVForum Visionary Awards visit Organizations wishing to sponsor the event should contact SVForum CEO Chris Gill at