A domino is a small, rectangular block with a line down the middle that visually separates each end into two squares, or spots. Each side has a number of dots—also known as pips—ranging from one to six, with the higher numbers having more value. A domino may also have a blank or “wild” side, which can be assigned any value. A typical set of dominoes contains 28 pieces. More sophisticated sets have more pips and can be played in a variety of ways.
Dominos can be stacked on end to form long lines. If a domino in the line is tipped, it causes the next piece to tip over and so on, in a chain reaction that can produce extremely complex designs. This phenomenon is the origin of the phrase, “the domino effect,” which describes a series of events that start with one simple action and have much larger—and sometimes catastrophic—consequences.
Many people enjoy playing dominoes, but others use them for practical purposes, such as building structures and creating designs. Some examples include the Taj Mahal, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Washington Monument. Dominos can also be used to make art, including paintings, sculptures, and mosaics.
Some people, such as artist Hevesh, create intricate displays using dominoes. She says that one physical phenomenon is key to her work: gravity. As a domino is standing upright, it has potential energy based on its position, but as soon as it falls, most of this potential energy is converted to kinetic energy that causes the next domino in line to fall.
Hevesh has worked on projects involving 300,000 dominoes that can take several nail-biting minutes to complete. She says that she tries to rank each task on her daily agenda according to its impact, so that the most important task receives her full attention until it is completed. She believes that this strategy allows her to have a positive impact on the world, which is why she is passionate about her work.
In business, the domino effect refers to a process in which an initial success fuels a wave of further successes. This can be seen in the rise of Domino’s Pizza, which began with a single store in Ypsilanti, Michigan in 1967 and now operates over 200 stores worldwide. Founder Tom Monaghan grew the company by placing his pizzerias near college campuses to appeal to a demographic that was interested in fast delivery options. He focused on this goal and continued to expand his chain because it paid off in profits and brand recognition.
In writing, the domino effect is often used to describe a story’s plot. By breaking down the main plot points into smaller actions, a writer can show how an event in the beginning leads to subsequent events in the story. This technique is especially useful when describing a character’s motivation or an action that has significant consequences for the character. By showing the reader how a character’s actions affect him or her, the author can create a more compelling story.