He was working so hard that one morning, in a daze, he drove his Corvette into a parked truck and nearly killed himself.
Jobs immediately drove to the hospital to see him.
"We were pretty worried about you," he said when Atkinson regained consciousness.
Atkinson gave him a pained smile and replied, "Don't worry, I still remember regions."
Jobs also had a passion for smooth scrolling.
Documents should not lurch line by line as you scroll through them, but instead should flow.
"He was adamant that everything on the interface had a good feeling to the user," Atkinson said.
They also wanted a mouse that could easily move the cursor in any direction, not just up-down/left-right.
This required using a ball rather than the usual two wheels.
One of the engineers told Atkinson that there was no way to build such a mouse commercially.
After Atkinson complained to Jobs over dinner, he arrived at the office the next day to discover that Jobs had fired the engineer.
When his replacement met Atkinson, his first words were, "I can build the mouse."
Atkinson and Jobs became best friends for a while, eating together at the Good Earth most nights.
But John Couch and the other professional engineers on his Lisa team, many of them buttoned-down HP types, resented Jobs's meddling and were infuriated by his frequent insults.
There was also a clash of visions.
Jobs wanted to build a VolksLisa, a simple and inexpensive product for the masses.
"There was a tug-of-war between people like me, who wanted a lean machine, and those from HP, like Couch, who were aiming for the corporate market," Jobs recalled.
Both Mike Scott and Mike Markkula were intent on bringing some order to Apple and became increasingly concerned about Jobs's disruptive behavior.
So in September 1980, they secretly plotted a reorganization.
Couch was made the undisputed manager of the Lisa division.
Jobs lost control of the computer he had named after his daughter.
He was also stripped of his role as vice president for research and development. He was made non-executive chairman of the board.
This position allowed him to remain Apple's public face, but it meant that he had no operating control.
That hurt. "I was upset and felt abandoned by Markkula," he said.
"He and Scotty felt I wasn't up to running the Lisa division. I brooded about it a lot."