Dominoes Are More Than Just Dominoes

A domino is a flat, thumbsized rectangular block that features a line down the middle to divide it visually into two squares, each bearing one to six dots or spots—called pips. Like dice or playing cards, dominoes can be used to play a wide variety of games.

Dominoes are normally twice as long as they are wide and can be stacked in lines or in angular arrangements. Each tile is numbered on both ends to indicate its value, which is typically called its rank or weight. Each rank of a single domino is distinct from those of other tiles, with a higher ranking indicating more valuable pieces. Depending on the game, different suits may be established for the tiles—for example, one suit might contain the numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, while another might contain all of the other numbers plus the blanks or zeroes.

The earliest domino sets, known as double-six or twenty-six, comprised 28 tiles. Later, larger sets were produced, with more unique tiles to allow for more intricate plays. Among the most common of these are the “double nine” set with 55 tiles and the “double 18” set with 190.

Many domino enthusiasts use the games to practice number recognition and math skills. Others play to simply enjoy the challenge of lining up and putting down dominoes in order to create complex patterns or structures. A small percentage of the hobbyist population engage in competitive domino competitions, where winning is determined by a combination of skill and luck.

Dominoes also serve as a model of signal transmission in the nervous system, with falling dominoes replicating many aspects of how information moves through the long body of a nerve cell. As each domino falls, much of its potential energy translates into kinetic energy, which provides the push necessary to knock over the next domino in the chain.

When it comes to the food chain Domino’s, which also operates a number of other pizza restaurants, the company’s first priority is its customers. The company’s founder, Tom Monaghan, opened the first Domino’s location in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in 1967. When he became CEO, he emphasized the importance of listening to employees and customers—and acted on their feedback.

For example, he encouraged managers to dress casually at work, and he introduced new leadership training programs and college recruiting systems. He even toured some of its pizzerias to hear directly from workers what they thought of the company.

This level of customer engagement continues today, with the company’s headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan, employing more than 500 employees who specialize in software analytics and other technologies to improve efficiency. And when a Domino’s worker in one of its 1,800 franchises takes an order through the app or website, the technology analyzes it for errors and then makes suggestions to the store manager to correct them. This is how Domino’s maintains its reputation for quick and accurate delivery. The company has also innovated in its own way by offering pizzas through drones and texting to deliver them.