The Domino Effect


A domino is a small rectangular block, bearing an arrangement of spots, or “pips,” similar to those on dice, and blank or identically patterned on the other side. One can play a variety of games with dominoes, as well as line them up in long rows to create visually stunning displays of mathematical and geometric proportions. A domino set generally consists of 28 pieces.

The word “domino” comes from the Latin dominica, for domini, meaning “little one.” People often use the term to refer to a sequence of events that starts with a single, seemingly insignificant change and ends with dramatic and sometimes catastrophic consequences. The concept is embodied in the popular phrase, the Domino Effect, which describes the way that changes in one behavior can trigger shifts in related behaviors.

Some children like to play with dominoes by setting them up end to end in long lines, then knocking them over. When you knock over the first domino, it sets off a chain reaction that causes all of the other dominoes to tip over as well. Very complex arrangements can be made in this manner, and there are even domino shows in which builders compete to set up the most elaborate domino reactions or effects before a live audience of fans.

In the business world, the Domino Effect is often used to describe the way that a small change in one process can have big impacts on others. For example, if a company cuts back on its advertisement budget, it might have to scale back its other operations as well. This might include reducing its workforce or adjusting production schedules. In the long run, these changes might have a major impact on the overall profitability of the company.

A famous example of the Domino Effect is the pizza delivery chain Domino’s, which was founded in Ypsilanti, Michigan in 1967 by Tom Monaghan. When he took over the company from its founder James DeVarti, Monaghan focused on opening stores in college towns. This allowed him to build a strong customer base among young adults, who are the main audience for Domino’s pizza.

When the Domino Effect is used in storytelling, it’s often to describe a plot that unfolds smoothly from one scene to the next. A good story has to have a smooth, consistent flow so that the reader doesn’t get confused or bored. If your plot has hiccups or jumps in logic, the reader might lose interest before reaching the final climax of your story.

When a domino is standing upright, it has potential energy, which is the force that keeps it from falling over. When you knock over the first domino, much of this potential energy converts to kinetic energy, which gives it the momentum needed to push the next domino over. This chain reaction continues until all of the dominoes have fallen. Physicist Stephen Morris points out that dominoes are an excellent example of a physical system in which energy is transformed from one form to another.