How would I explain Ethereum to a non-technical friend?
I've recently attempted to explain Ethereum to several non-techy friends.
My explanation usually involves starting with a comparison to Bitcoin, but this quickly becomes complicated as I then have to explain the backstory of how the Bitcoin blockchain works, which is similarly technical in nature.
Is there a better way to describe the general concepts of Ethereum to non-techies? Are there any analogies I can make to things that are less technical in nature? Or is it just the case that the technology is quite complicated...?
Ethereum is a world computer  and might change how we interact, just like the internet did, 20 years ago. Like Bitcoin, it is based on a block chain, but Ethereum is more than just a currency. It is a platform for building decentralized apps (dapps), which can be used for any activity that has an economic or governance aspect, such as:
- Transparent governance for communities
- Secure communications - authentication, messaging,
- Secure backbone for e-commerce and the Internet of Things
- Secure payments
- Integrated development environment for debugging, development and deployment of Ethereum applications
- Free software - all released under copyleft licenses such as MIT and the General Public Licence (GPL)
- More examples are here in this wiki and on State of the Dapps.
For more information, refer to here.
The substantive content of your Answer was almost entirely in a linked video and therefore unavailable in this StackExchange. There was no attempt to summarize the salient points of the video.
This answer isn't that sexy. For us who understand, it says everything. But for someone new: "Transparent, why is that cool? I expect all services to be secure. Paypal is secure and something license." Not being a hater in any way, just trying to find more of a elevator pitch which makes the other person go "Aha!"