How we became known as the "hail mary" studio for Samsung and Big Spaceship

Screenshot of Samsung Unpacked Live Stream Video

The Outcome

As one of the most prestigious agencies in New York, getting a call from Big Spaceship is an honor. When they came to us looking for a development partner, we were excited before even knowing the work details. What unfolded was a project to build a custom application for one of the biggest tech giants, Samsung Mobile. Over the course of a few (very busy) weeks, we worked closely with YouTube engineers and Big Spaceship creatives, to quickly build and host an application that displayed a live video feed and content stream for the Samsung Unpacked event!

“You managed to impress the YouTube engineering team, which isn't easy to do when it comes to scale! Unicorn did a great job and everyone was blown away!”

Victoria GrubbHead of Product @ YouTube
Screenshot of Samsung Unpacked Live Stream Widget


Dealing with millions of concurrent visitors on an application is never an easy task. This particular application posed challenges on a few technical fronts:

  • An efficient and compact Angular application
  • Embedded on YouTube through a legacy API
  • A responsive front-end across devices
  • Scaleable to handles millions of requests per second
  • Horizontal scale without delay
Screenshot of Samsung Unpacked Audit before Unicorn showing really bad results

The Old Way

Samsung had worked with three different agencies before getting introduced to us. Each took a similar approach to handling the scale and volume of Galaxy Unpacked. Keeping up with millions of requests per second is no easy task for applications, even when money isn't the object. Every other agency tried to solve the horizontal scale challenges by using load balancing or containerized micro-services, but these methods still proved ineffective which you can see in our screenshot of an audit.

Screenshot of Samsung Unpacked Audit after Unicorn's implementation with 100% success rate and uptime

The Unicorn Way

We knew that we would have to think outside of the box on the back-end, as the API would be a bottle-neck and difficult to scale. What we came up with was simple, yet powerful. We built a Rails CMS that would cache the API as static JSON files and distribute them on CloudFront's CDN. Scale was only half the battle, however. We also knew that the Angular application needed to be as efficient as possible while also handling a significant amount of responsibility:

  • Supporting mobile and desktop DOM events within an iframe
  • Caching and reconciling the API on the client side
  • Frequently fetching data without over-burdening the server

Unicorn  ❤  Partners

Big Spaceship led the project with incredible attention to detail and YouTube engineers were very accommodating and adaptive. We learned a lot and have had a great relationship with both since!