A Cup of Tea, a Light, and Your Stereo

Several weeks ago, a dear friend reminded me of the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs on June 12, 2005, at Stanford University. The entire speech heaves with wisdom, hope, and love, and I tend to come back to it every now and then, just as I do Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass—for comfort, compassion, direction, perspective. I meant to write something about it then, but things got in the way.

Here’s a pertinent excerpt:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

And here’s an image of Jobs at home in 1982.

Photo: Diana Walker.

“This was a very typical time. I was single. All you needed was a cup of tea, a light, and your stereo, you know, and that’s what I had.”—Steve Jobs

I'm reminded to live simply, full of love.

hififofum's picture

It warms my heart to see this picture again today.

Steve would often visit my shop at lunchtime to listen to gear.  He always brought along companions from his Apple office that was located a few blocks away.

When the system consisting of Acoustat speakers and Threshold electronics was delivered, the only item in his new house was a refrigerator.  It made me happy to agree with his priorities!

The happiness and prosperity that Steve brought to many of us will continue beyond his lifetime.

volvic's picture

If my eyes ain't failing me I think I also see a Michell Gyro. 


Audentity's picture

His reminder to use death as your guide is beyond profound. Echoes of Buddha and Carlos Castaneda.

Enjoy the music while you can!  R.I.P. Steve.

HalSF's picture

I wonder what those big old speakers are? And I wish I could i.d. those vinyl LPs. The one by his right knee looks like it might be Aja... The guy loved music and he put a lot of powerful tools and sweet toys into the hands of audiophiles.

popluhv's picture

Audiophiles will lament the loss iof Jobs, however, music lovers will miss Bert Jansch too.

hififofum's picture

Yes, that is a Michell Gyrodec, Acoustat 3 speakers and the album is Aja.

The system was eventually moved to the Apple building where the engineering team developed the first Mac.

HalSF's picture

Thanks for the info on Steve's long-lost hifi.

jeffreyfranz's picture

Steve Jobs was--what word is adequate--a unique person. Apple products changed my life and the way I looked at all-things-computer. Still true to this day. For me, however, his most attractive and compelling qualities were the humility and apparent serenity he radiated. As so many others, I will miss him. 

pkroetsch's picture

I have been a Mac user since 1989. It changed my perceptions of what technology and computers could be. Many Macs and now an iPhone later, I still find Apple's products to be more than gadgets, but works of ....art?, craftsmanship?. They have an integrity missing in their competitors. This is my feeling about the music I love: classical, jazz, "quality" rock. And about my audio equipment. I value this integrity very much. Hearing about Steve's death affected me deeply, much more than I expected. I hope others will emerge to carry the torch.

My only negative: Steve Jobs also helped promote the compressed audio that we get via iTunes, etc. I hope it is just a "birth pang" of the future that will be resolved in a way that those of us who value musical integrity can be happy with. 

stifenlager's picture



Hello from France,

The LP on his right knee is not Steely Dan's Aja. It is " Cole Porter Songbook" by Ella Fitzgerald on Verve Records....laugh

Look at this link


Best regards.