The domino effect is a principle that describes situations in which one action can trigger other actions that lead to larger consequences. This principle was first used in the context of politics, but it is also a useful metaphor for any endeavor where you are trying to create a positive momentum.
Dominos, the game
In the classic domino game, players stack the black, rectangular pieces in long lines and then knock them down. They are a popular children’s game, but the blocks have much more depth than their simple square shape suggests, and they can be made into elaborate patterns. They’re even stacked to form three-dimensional structures that look amazing when they fall.
They’re also great for learning about energy because they convert their potential to kinetic energy, the energy of motion (see Converting Energy). As each domino is dropped, some of that energy is transmitted to the next domino in the line, causing it to push against its neighbor and knock it over.
You can see this principle in action when you watch a domino rally or a domino show. These are competitions in which builders compete for the most creative and mind-blowing domino set. The winning dominoes are usually set up so that they’re able to knock down the others in a sequence that looks like a domino pyramid or other geometrical structure.
These sets can include a lot of different pieces, each with a specific number of pips or spots. Some of these tiles are made to look as though they’ve been shattered and have a rough surface. The smallest set of pieces has 28 tiles; progressively larger sets, such as double-nine and double-six, add more pips to each end.
Dominoes originated in France shortly after 1750, and their names are related to a black cape worn by a priest over his surplice. They were first made with ebony and ivory, but they’ve since been produced in many different colors and materials.
The earliest dominoes had two ends; today they are usually divided by a line, so that each side has an equal number of pips or spots. The pips on each tile represent the values of the sides, ranging from 0 to 6 for a single-sided domino and from six to no pips for a double-sided domino.
They can be used for all sorts of games, including a game called Chinese dominoes. Unlike European dominoes, they don’t have military-civilian suit distinctions or duplicate tiles, which makes them easier to read and play.
It’s important to pick the right dominoes when you’re launching a new project. Not all dominoes have the same impact, so it’s crucial to identify which ones have the most value and then focus on them.
As a rule, try to keep your ideas as small and specific as possible. This will allow you to focus on the right tasks and avoid the “flash in the pan” syndrome that often plagues new initiatives.
Domino’s began to grow under the leadership of Patrick Doyle, a pizza chef who worked to expand beyond his specialty. He introduced new items to his menu, aimed for a higher-quality product, and focused on putting pizzerias near college campuses, which was a strategic move that put the chain closer to its core customer base. These efforts were met with little fanfare, but they helped fuel the company’s growth over the next few years.