06:14 AM

Silicon Valley Honors Four Visionaries: A Top VC, An Educator, A Journalist, And A Serial Entrepreneur

Next week SVForum will honor four extraordinary people with its 2012 Visionary Awards, a celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship that is in its 15th year.

The awards go to:

Jim Breyer, Partner and President, Accel Partners

In April 2011, Forbes published its Midas List of top technology investors and ranked Jim Breyer #1.

He led Accel's investment in Facebook (FB) in April, 2005, and has served on the Board of Directors since that time. Jim is also currently on the board of directors of Wal-Mart Stores. He also serves on the board of Brightcove, and on the board of Dell. He recently was elected to the board of News Corporation.

Salman Khan, Educator

Salman Khan (Sal) founded the Khan Academy as a nonprofit with the mission of providing free, high-quality education for "anyone, anywhere" in the world. As a side project, Khan began tutoring his young cousin in math, communicating by phone and using an interactive notepad. The Khan Academy website now provides self-pacing software and unlimited access to over 3,000 instructional videos covering everything from basic arithmetic to college level science and economics, and is the most-used library of educational videos on the web. Microsoft's Bill Gates said, "... his impact on education might truly be incalculable."

David Kirkpatrick, Journalist and Author

Author and journalist David Kirkpatrick is founder and CEO of Techonomy Media. Kirkpatrick wrote the bestselling book The Facebook Effect, and was finalist for Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year and the Gerald Loeb Award. Kirkpatrick was for many years senior editor at Fortune Magazine. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Elon Musk, Chairman, Product Architect and CEO

Elon Musk is CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors and CEO/CTO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), where he is the chief designer, overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. Elon co-founded PayPal, and served as the company's Chairman and CEO. In 2010, Musk was the youngest recipient of the Auto Executive of the Year Innovator Award for his work at Tesla Motors, and named to the Time 100 for 2010. Elon has also been recognized as one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century by Esquire magazine.

Great choices. They join an amazing list of past winners, everybody that's anybody in Silicon Valley. You can see it here.

This is easily my favorite event of the year because of the incredible guest list to this very small and very private event. Everyone is relaxed and sharing great anecdotes.

Also: It's good to see that SVForum changed its name by one letter. It used to be known as SDForum where the 'SD' stood for software developer. I suggested a couple of years ago that SV would be better, referencing Silicon Valley because that's been the central focus for organization for many years.

I'm sorry to see that Susan Lucas-Conwell won't be introducing the winners this year. She did an excellent job as CEO of SVForum for more than five years and now works at Great Place to Work. The new CEO is Chris Gill, a serial entrepreneur with 8 notches.

Here is some of my prior coverage of the event:

SDForum Garden Party Notes: Vinod Khosla is the Antichrist; Jim Clark has a size problem; Silicon Valley Trophies - Hot women and large Yachts...

Here's a short video of Jim Clark talking about how he got started.

And here is Kay Koplovitz, one of the top US executives, talking about the need for more women entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.

Here's Judy Estrin one of Silicon Valley's top entrepreneurs, talking about rescuing innovation in the US.