Ivy Hoops Plus: Q&A with Piqued editor-in-chief and former Princeton forward Kareem Maddox

For our latest installment of Ivy Hoops Plus, a feature in which we shine a light on the many impactful works that those with Ivy ties are doing off the court, we caught up with former Princeton forward Kareem Maddox (’11). The 2011 Ivy Defensive Player of the Year and league champion is now producer of Colorado Matters for Colorado Public Radio. Last year, Maddox founded Piqued, a website that features interviews with intriguing minds from all walks of life, with fellow Princeton graduate Nick Antoine. Maddox tells us about what motivated him to start Piqued, and his Piqued interview with another Princeton basketball legend, Armond Hill (’76).

Ivy Hoops Online: How did Piqued come about?

Kareem Maddox: The idea for Piqued started as a conversation between Nick Antoine and me. We were a few years out of undergrad and were talking about how much we missed learning about the broad range of subjects taught at Princeton. We realized, “Why do we have to stop? Let’s seek out experts, ask them questions, and share what we learn with our friends.” That’s how the name came about—the interviews were about topics that “piqued our interest.” The website started off with just print interviews and over time we began adding additional features such as illustrations. We plan to add podcasts very soon.

IHO: Are there other publications or websites that helped inspire Piqued’s mission, or did Piqued come from a general lack of publications that focused solely on curiosity-based conversation?

KM: There are plenty of places to learn something new, but we were definitely influenced by programs such as the Charlie Rose show and TED Talks. We also really liked the artwork in publications like Nautilus Magazine and The New Yorker.

IHO: Piqued’s ‘about us’ page says: “Our generation is as eager as ever to learn more about the world, but not interested in excessive punditry and editorialization. Is Piqued geared toward a certain generational group, or a certain audience?”

KM: We gear our interviews towards our peers. Our main goal is for anyone who checks out an interview to come away with at least one thing that’s actionable. Whether that action is to start a conversation, think deeper (or differently) about a topic, or just have a source of inspiration.

IHO: How has excessive punditry and editorialization compromised modern media, if you believe it has?

KM: It seems like every player in the media today is quick to accuse other outlets of having a slant. And they’re all probably right. It’s probably compromised the trust of those that have an expectation of objectivity from news media. But it seems to us that those objective facts aren’t always profitable—facts woven as compelling stories are what sell. So viewers, listeners or readers tend to gravitate to the side that they agree with.

IHO: What kind of feedback have you gotten regarding Piqued?

KM: We’ve had a ton of great feedback and the illustrators have done a fantastic job adding a narrative context to the interviews.

IHO: How similar is Piqued to the work you do for Colorado Public Radio?

KM: It’s very similar. At CPR I produce interviews, and it’s the same for Piqued. I guess the difference is that I’m actually conducting them.

IHO: What was it like interviewing fellow Princeton basketball standout Armond Hill for Piqued? Did you have a relationship with him prior to that interview?

KM: Armond Hill is THE MAN. That is an undisputed fact. During my junior year he came to Princeton for a basketball function and spoke to the team, but that was the only time I had spoken to him. He was extremely generous with his time, and that was truly one of the most enlightening interviews I’ve been a part of. He’s been around the NBA for a long time, so hearing him talk about the strengths and weaknesses of players was really insightful.

IHO: What are your plans for Piqued’s future?

KM: We’re moving into short podcasts and plan to experiment with our style by offering both traditional as well as narrated interviews. Stay tuned!

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