Domino (pronounced doh-MAH-NOO) is an ancient game of arranging pips or spots on two sides of a piece. Like playing cards, dominoes bear identifying marks on one side and are blank or identically patterned on the other.
Traditionally, European-style dominoes are made of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony with contrasting black or white pips. Alternatively, they can be made from other natural materials, such as stone (e.g., marble, granite, or soapstone); woods, such as ash, oak, redwood, and cedar; metals, such as brass or pewter; ceramic clay, or even frosted glass or crystal.
The basic domino set consists of 28 pieces, with each end having a number of spots or “pips,” which are arranged in a variety of ways to create unique combinations. Generally, ends with zero to six spots are used, and the highest-value piece has six pips on each end. This traditional “double-six” set is the most common; however, several progressively larger sets have been created by adding more spots to each end to increase the possible number of unique combinations.
Playing games with dominoes can be fun and educational for all ages. In a simple game, players shuffle the tiles face down and form a stock or “boneyard.” Each player draws seven tiles from the boneyard and plays them on-edge in front of them.
When a player has finished playing all their tiles, the opponent must play a new domino that matches the value of the ones already played. If a match is not possible, the opponent may play a sleeping tile and continue the game.
If a match is made, the player must then choose another domino from their stock to play against the first one. This process is repeated until either player wins by playing all of their dominoes or the other person cannot play any more.
A domino is also an object that demonstrates an interesting physical property called inertia. Unlike moving objects, such as cars and people, dominoes don’t move when no outside force is applied. They instead move slowly against their surfaces and slide against one another, which causes friction.
Similarly, inertia also prevents dominoes from rising when they’re placed on a surface, but with a tiny nudge, they can eventually rise. This is called the domino effect, and it’s a great way to illustrate how ideas, processes, and behaviors can build up over time.
How the domino effect works is simple: Over time, small improvements to a system build up to a dramatic improvement in performance. The most dramatic examples of the domino effect are seen in business, where sustained effort and constant iteration allow companies to increase their leverage.
In business, a company’s success depends on its ability to respond quickly to customers’ needs and complaints. Often, this is achieved by listening to what customers say and addressing those concerns directly.
When a customer complains about their experience at a store, for example, it’s often the case that a small change in a company’s strategy can turn things around. Domino’s founder Mike Monaghan, for example, focused on putting his pizzerias in places where his core customers could easily find them. It’s this approach that fueled Domino’s growth throughout the years.