This Perspective offers a personal view of the story of Varian NMR, a courageous initiative that began in the 1950s but came to an abrupt end some 60 years later. Without doubt, Varian leaves behind a priceless legacy, particularly in the field of structural chemistry. The highlights are set out in four main sections, named after the four seasons, but not necessarily in strict chronology. How did the accepted business practices influence the evolution, growth, and eventual demise of this exciting venture? How well did management handle an unconventional group of young scientific entrepreneurs? What does it all mean for the future of magnetic resonance? The subject can be viewed on two different levels, the Varian story itself, and the larger picture - the Silicon Valley phenomenon as a whole, with Varian considered as an interesting microcosm. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.