The Domino Effect

Physicists have long been fascinated by the domino effect—the way that a single domino, carefully placed at the right spot in a line, can eventually bring down an entire sequence of them. But a domino is still only about 5 millimeters tall and 1 millimeter thick—not much more than a Tic Tac!

Nevertheless, it’s quite impressive to watch a domino builder set up a long sequence of dominoes, then simply nudge one of them to knock down the whole set. And Hevesh can do it over and over again, creating awe-inducing setups that are seen by millions of viewers on her YouTube channel and at events for celebrities such as Katy Perry.

Dominos CEO Don Meij takes matters into his own hands on an episode of the popular television series Undercover Boss, sending himself to work in one of the busiest restaurants and examining their delivery services. Meij’s goal is to analyze how well the employees are performing and how the customers respond to them. After observing and listening, Meij decides that the Domino’s delivery service needs to improve.

A Domino’s Pizza employee explains how the company plans to implement the changes that Meij has determined are needed. Using the domino as an example, the employee describes how the chain will be changing its delivery process and training employees to better assist customers.

Several factors determine how fast and how far a domino falls. The shape and size of the piece are important; for example, square dominos are easier to fall than round ones because they have flat sides that make it harder for them to roll. The surface on which the domino is set is also crucial. A smooth surface is easier to slide on, while a rough one can grip and stick to the domino.

Another factor is the number of pips on the domino. Each domino has a face that is either blank or patterned with an arrangement of dots resembling those on dice. A domino is normally twice as wide as it is long; the ends of a domino have numbers that indicate its value, and each end may have different values depending on how many pips are on it. A domino is “heavier” if it has more pips than another, and a set of dominoes with all identical ends is called a ‘double-six’ set.

A set of dominoes is usually composed of a total of 28 pieces. However, a player can extend the set by adding additional ends with increasing numbers of pips. There are many variants of domino, and some sets include “extended” ends that allow for a greater number of combinations of values.

Similarly, in a story, each scene is a domino that adds to the overall storyline. When scenes don’t fit with the overall narrative, they aren’t as effective. That’s why it’s important for writers to use outlines or a tool such as Scrivener to help them organize their ideas. Otherwise, a writer can end up with scenes that don’t contribute to the storyline—not even as background.