DOminoes are activists. Their first name is DO.

“DOminoes aren’t much for sitting around in a box on a shelf somewhere. They prefer to engage minds and entice them into thinking up winning strategies. Dominoes are activists. Their first name is DO.” –– M. Daniel Nickle

Gulp!

So it is time to launch my first new venture in 10 years.

Thinking about the 10 million things we will need to focus on over the coming months to turn The Domino Principle™ into something that will be hugely and positively impactful for people around the world is, to be honest, a bit overwhelming and scary. But mostly, it is just plain thrilling and exciting.

Starting this blog makes me feel a bit like a proud papa who has just witnessed the birth of a new child… today it is pure, a clean slate, and soon it will grow and take on a life of its own as individuals all over the world start interacting and adding content. While it is impossible for me to anticipate all the directions it will expand, I’m certain that with an appropriate amount of love and TLC it will thrive, and in time, become something far greater than its creator.

The Domino Principle blog will, I hope, become a place where we can connect to have important conversations, the conversations that help navigate difficult waters, as we each seek to shape our future and understand our place in this fragile world.

The launch of this blog also casts the first domino in a series of dominoes I’ve designed and envisioned for myself, and for our readers, like you. Lately, I’ve woken up each morning feeling like I’m going to burst with ideas. I’m so jazzed up that I can barely sit still at the computer long enough to write. I’ve got enough “Domino Principle” ideas in my head to: fill this blog for a considerable while, build a book series, implement an amazing seminar to take to business groups and conferences (such as EO and YPO events) around the world — along with about a dozen other things I can’t talk about yet. I’m only now starting to come to terms with how best to line up the dominoes to create the coolest chain reaction.

So I’d like to set the stage by focusing just for one post on my own personal journey and to tell you the story of how I got to the point of launching The Domino Principle and being here with you today.

In a sense, the chain of dominoes that led to my starting this venture goes back to my childhood, but I won’t bore you by going back that far… If you’d like to read that story, you’ll find it in my full bio.

I’m a rocket scientist by training, with a Ph.D. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from M.I.T. Yet for the past 10 years, I’ve been running a company I founded called MyCityRocks.

MyCityRocks started as a social engagement venture, and over time evolved into an online event ticket marketplace… essentially an eBay-like business model for people to buy and sell great seats for sports, concert, and theatre tickets around the world. I have a lot of pride in having built MyCityRocks into a company that has realized more than $33 million dollars in sales since late 2007.

Through MyCityRocks, I’ve had a chance to do things that have helped make this world a better place over and over again: supporting musicians, artists, and young entrepreneurs along with a wide variety of other causes well worth supporting [See: MyCityRocks™ Receives 2011 Enterprise Award For Community Service]. In the process, my team and I have had one heck of a lot of fun… more than I can talk about here.

And perhaps most importantly, it has enabled me to work primarily from a home office and spend time with my amazing daughter as she grew up, and to take her on some incredible adventures around the world.

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 But my daughter is gone now, off in college in Atlanta, and, while one never knows for sure, it seems likely at this point that MyCityRocks is past its zenith in terms of its growth cycle. And, to be honest, I’m starting to feel bored. While I’m extremely proud of what we’ve built with MyCityRocks, and it has held its share of business challenges to keep me busy through the years, it lacks the kind of intellectual growth and stimulation fitting for someone who is, well, a rocket scientist. And I’ve come to ask myself… is this the only way I want to be remembered? Is this the only professional legacy I want to leave in this world? And I find that the answer is… well, probably not.

So for the past year, I’ve been thinking about  what the next big thing was going to be in my life, spurred on about six months ago by an extremely painful and swift kick in the ass from someone very dear to me who realized I was a bit lost and wasn’t living to my potential, and that I had a challenging journey ahead in order to really find myself again.

Now, three times in my life I’ve built very successful business ventures, each time by noticing major trends in the world before they had become widely realized, figuring out how they were going to impact our lives and then creating businesses that leveraged those trends well ahead of most others (and again, if you want further details, see my full bio). And I know from experience that I innovate best by inspiration rather than by perspiration. In other words, I can’t simply sit down and come up with something great just because I want to. But I also know that if I stay prepared and if I stay curious, in time and with a fair bit of serendipity, inspiration will come to me. And that is exactly what has happened.

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“But a genius doesn’t work on an assembly line basis.  Did Einstein, Kazanga, or… or Sitar of Vulcan produce new and revolutionary theories on a regular schedule? You can’t simply say, ‘Today I will be brilliant’.”     —  James T. Kirk (Stardate: 4729.4)

There were a couple of specific triggers that caused the inspiration dominoes to start lining up this time around, and oddly enough it all seemed to coalesce into something tangible within my mind in just a few hours.

The first trigger came while taking a trip for groceries to Trader Joe’s and seeing gas stations offering regular gasoline selling for $1.65/gallon here in Houston. Only a few weeks earlier, it was hard to conceive how gas prices could go any lower after dropping to $1.99/gallon.

About the same time, one of my friends, Liliana Cuellar, who exemplifies having a great attitude, posted on her Facebook:

“An arlillianaticle stated that 38% of Houston economy is oil and gas. As we can see, many people have started losing their jobs because of the low oil prices. If you are in the oil and gas industry, your job is not safe that is reality. For what I know, [my dog] Jordi & I could end up sleeping under the Kirby/Shepperd bridge next month. I advised my coworkers who are freaking out to update their resume, take training/courses and network. This is life, we can’t live in fear. We just have to be prepared. We gain or lose, this is part of life. Yeah, we might lose our jobs but we can get back up. Oil industry peeps, don’t be afraid, we’ll get through this!”

And another friend also posted on Facebook:

“Professor Mandelbaum [Author of the book: Road to Global Prosperity] talking to our SAIS group. He’s predicting Euro will fail. Greek elections next week will be revealing as to direction of euro: “Grecxit.” Greece leaving the Euro could cause a contagion effect. He says Euro will fail in the next 2 to 3 years. Emerging market countries will help fuel growth or need to fuel growth of the world economy.”

Thinking about these three things, all happening in close proximity, precipitated the “aha moment” that led to the design of The Domino Principle.  I realized we were just seeing the very first dominoes start to fall related to these events — the tip of the iceberg — and that the eventual repercussions would likely be far more significant.  I started to see how  I might use the processes for seeing “deep repercussions, ” which had proven to be so successful for me in the past, and apply them more broadly to help others. And I began to understand that there might be real value in creating a unique platform that would also allow others to benefit from discussing these issues.

So in my next post, I’ll elaborate on what The Domino Principle, and this blog, are all about, along with our plans to deliver ongoing content that will make a material difference to the lives of our readers.

DOminoes are activists. Their first name is DO. I could use just a little help from my friends to enable The Domino Principle to gain sufficient critical mass to become more successful and useful. Our readers, like you, are influencers, and YOU can DO something quick and easy that would use your influence to help us out. Below each article we publish on The Domino Principle blog (like this one), you’ll see buttons to share the article on social media. Please use these buttons to share our articles, especially the option to share our articles with your friends on Facebook. It will really help spread the word of what we are trying to accomplish!

Also I invite you to keep up with our information stream by signing up (below the domino on the upper right of this page) to receive notices by email of new posts to this blog. Leaving comments on our blog posts is much welcomed as well.

–Cliff

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Cliff Kurtzman

Described as "pragmatically reckless with a high tolerance for ambiguity," Dr. Cliff Kurtzman is the founder of The Domino Principle. He is also an award winning entrepreneur, speaker, trend forecaster, and M.I.T.-trained rocket-scientist. Over the past 25 years, Cliff has launched several highly successful ventures by seeing technology trends in the world before they became widely realized, figuring out how they would impact our lives and then creating businesses that leveraged those trends ahead of many others. His bio is at http://www.kurtzman.biz.
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