I’m over at the LeWeb conference in Paris this week where I am presenting with Simon Cross from Facebook about Heroku for Facebook apps. It is day 2 of the conference, and with my presentation and demo all ready to go, I have been soaking in some of the atmosphere. It is only in Paris you would see a tech conference sponsored by a Coffee company with a keynote from Karl Lagerfield.

LeWeb is an interesting event. It is a great mix of start-ups, entrepreneurs, and established brands. From all of my discussions with attendees, one theme is obvious – it’s all about social. Yes, we have heard that before, but what I am finding at this event social has another meaning.

To put it more clearly, social is about the consumer being in the forefront – how do I as a consumer find the best places to eat, buy the product that not only suits my individual need but is of the best quality, stay in touch with what is important to me etc. Too often we think of social, and social marketing/networking as about staying in touch with the consumer, or engaging in a conversation after the fact.

If you are not in the conversation, you are the conversation.

This afternoon, during my session, I’m going to talk a lot about how this consumer-first notion of social is critical to building apps. Yes, we all know by now it is important to leverage the Facebook Open Graph, Twitter APIs, Path, etc. to be in the conversation, and have your brand present, but from a technology perspective social also means scale.

Never before have we been in a position where I can build an app, make it available on the web, and instantly tap into a potential user base of 800 million people (the latest public number of users on Facebook). To design, and build an app that scales so quickly is difficult, and if you believe in Geoffrey Moore’s Core vs. Context discussions, do you really want to? Is building a scalable infrastructure really your core business? Probably not.

For those of you who can’t make it to my session, here is a quick video of how quickly you can build and deploy a scalable social app using Heroku and Facebook.

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