Knowledge and growth define Warn Wilson Jr. as a person as his multitude of projects reflect. From painting the visage of a Black child taking a bite of the Earth as if it were an apple for an educational children’s book to designing electronic devices for his online business, Wilson enjoys delving into new disciplines and sharing what he has learned with others.
The engineer, poet and visual artist developed a curiosity for nearly everything around him while growing up in Jackson. Remembering his own childhood experience and fondness for learning inspired him to write his first book, titled “Brown Money.” In it, Wilson introduces children to STEM—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—which involves subjects, economics and potential career pathways that may suit young readers’ own interests.
“When I was writing “Brown Money,” my (first) children’s book, I thought, ‘What would I want my future children to know?’ I have younger siblings and cousins, and that helped me think about it,” he explains. “This encompasses everything I wish I’d known when I was younger.”
After repeatedly describing his idea for the book to friends, one told Wilson that he should stop talking about it and actively turn his passion toward realizing his goal. “I wrote the book in two days, illustrated it in three weeks, and in another month I had a printed copy,” Wilson says of the 52-page book he published in 2019.
Since completing “Brown Money,” Wilson has written other works, including “Royal Counsel,” “Brown Money 2” and “Hidden Gems: A Poetry Collection.” During his career, the 29-year-old has also created a handful of math workbooks for students in grades 2 through 5: “Brain Food: Multiplication Math Practice Workbook,” “Brain Food: Subtraction Math Practice Workbook” and “Brain Food: Addition Math Practice Workbook.”
As an artist, Wilson sells his paintings online and has turned prints of them into planners that are available in many colors. Through his business, Vondu, the entrepreneur and electrical engineer creates gadgets such as emergency phone chargers, anti-lost smart devices, wireless charging pads, solar battery packs and more, all available on Vondu’s website.
Ná Bruh Trivia App
A master of minutiae, a collector of knowledge and a man who aspires to spread his many talents in multiple directions, Wilson recently ventured into app design. When he originally published “Brown Money,” Wilson designed a card game to accompany and reinforce lessons from the book. Using that model, he created a 100-card collection of brain teasers titled “Ná Bruh,” which is what players are supposed to say when someone answers a question incorrectly.
“It sounded like a good name for the game,” he says. “But I just wasn’t happy with it, and it sat there for a few months.”
Wanting to incorporate his love of learning and teaching into his own app, Wilson decided to craft a trivia app that revamped and expanded on the original idea. “I thought a virtual format would be more interactive and fun and would allow me to add lots more content,” he adds.
While he presently lives and works in Memphis, Wilson never forgot the city that shaped him into who he is today. Growing up in Jackson, Miss., Wilson attended Power APAC and Murrah High School, so while creating trivia categories for Ná Bruh, he added a Jackson category that touches on the capital city’s multifaceted history.
“I’d never seen such a thing about Jackson,” he explains. “I wanted to promote Jackson as my hometown, and I wanted Jackson to be on the App Store. When I started researching the city’s history, finding all these random facts, I realized there’s so much to know that’s interesting about the capital.”
Placing nearly all of his free time into designing the app, Wilson wrote the outline in just 10 weeks, detailing its framework, the game’s rules and how each screen would look. Then he dove further into the research rabbit hole and meticulously generated a list of questions that he typed into the program himself.
“I do a lot of technical writing, which requires me to break complex information down into an easy-to-understand format,” he says. After working through necessary bugs and fixing typos, he was ready to find and hire a developer to bring the game to life.
“I’m an engineer, so I can design and plan, but I’m not a game programmer—they are even more methodical than I am,” Wilson says with a laugh..
The current version of the trivia game contains 5,000 questions in 12 categories: Jackson, Memphis, Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, the 1990s, the 2000s, sports, hip-hop, TV and movies, and “Super Smart,” the new name for the category containing the original brain teasers.
Wilson aspires for people who use the app to gain an increased appreciation for attaining knowledge while simultaneously having fun along the way. “I’m looking for lots more feedback before I get to version two,” he says, noting that his fiancée has already suggested he come up with trivia content that more directly targets women. “She assures me that she’ll help me add more categories and more questions.”
Ná Bruh is available on both Google Play and the App Store and costs $2.99 for a one-time download. In addition to polishing Ná Bruh and broadening its scope of factoids, Wilson plans to turn his book “Brown Money” and its card game into an app designed for children ages 7 through 12.
“The app will be a one-player game using the ideas from the book,” Wilson explains. “For example, if a player absorbs something positive like fruit and vegetables, or invests in stocks and bonds, they gain health and money.” He aims to launch the game by the year’s end.
Moving forward, Wilson strives to further quench his thirst for knowledge as he enthusiastically pursues the fields that pique his curiosity. “My idea is that you should learn everything you can about everything you’re interested in,” he says.
“Try it all. Even if you fail, you can still get valuable information.”
To learn more about Warn Wilson Jr.’s numerous endeavors, visit warnwilson.com.