Cloud Four Turns Fifteen

Programming - Apr 19, 2024

In the waning days of Summer 2007, four colleagues decided it was time to do our own thing. We weren’t sure exactly what we’d do, but thought it might involve the possibilities and promise of the mobile web… which thankfully turned out to be kind of a big deal. That year was a whirlwind of learning as we went — incorporating, finding a bank, finding a (shoebox-sized!) office space to lease, securing health insurance, and oh right, lining up some work to pay the bills.

Going into 2008, a presidential election was underway. We found our way on to the team that built the Obama ’08 iPhone app, somehow managing to release it  in record time. After the success of that project, we were inundated with inquiries about native app development. These were the gold rush years of native apps, but Cloud Four has always been a group of web enthusiasts at heart. In the days before responsive design, we became experts in device detection, translating native app design conventions to the web, and wedging content into some astoundingly tiny screens.

In the years to follow, we’ve moved offices three times. We’ve had to say goodbye to regular lunches at Olympia Provisions, our friends at Airship we subleased from in the Pearl District, and a lovely view of the waterfront from our First Avenue office which got fully blocked by a new hotel. We’ve been lucky enough to hire some of the most talented designers, developers and project managers in the Portland area. Co-founders Lyza Gardner and John Keith parted ways with Cloud Four while our very first hire, Megan Notarte and our Creative Director, Tyler Sticka, joined Jason and I as managing partners.

We’ve had good years and what John would optimistically term “learning years.” We’ve given back to the web community with events such as Responsive Field Day, a device lab open to the community for testing, two books, and the Mobile Portland user group. We went remote for the pandemic and decided we liked it (as long as we make the effort to get together when we can).

Throughout our ups and downs, we’ve continued to scout the frontiers of the web and deliver innovative, future-friendly work to our valued clients. The majority of our projects come from repeat customers: we’re especially proud when those relationships span months and even years. If you’ve been a part of our journey over the past 15 years — as an employee, a customer, a colleague or an advisor — we extend to you our profound gratitude.

While the future of the web has always been challenging to predict, we’re excited by the possibilities. We’re seeing renewed interest in many of the fundamentals that define Cloud Four: responsiveness, performance and inclusiveness. We’re seeing some tremendous shake-ups to process and best practices. And browsers are rising to the occasion, supporting new features at an astounding rate. There’s never been a better time to design and develop for the web: we look forward to building more amazing things, together.

  • Signed articles of incorporation, Cloud Four is born 🐣
  • Formed Mobile Portland
  • Created web experiences for multiple standard-setting organizations
  • Provided design, development and performance optimization services to multiple fashion brands
  • Crafted a design system and responsive ecommerce experience for an international fashion brand
  • Introduced Drizzle
  • Redesigned our website in public
  • Designed and built ecommerce experiences for a sports equipment brand
  • Progressive Web Apps is published by A Book Apart
  • Designed and developed marketing experiences for one of the top 25 most visited sites on the web
  • Celebrated 15 years of Cloud Four 🎉
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